Revamping Nigeria’s Palm Oil Production Future: The Game-Changing Initiative in 6 States Transforming Lives

Palm Oil Production
Palm Oil Production | © James Morgan / WWF-International

Revamping Nigeria’s Palm Oil Production Future: The Game-Changing Initiative in 6 States Transforming Lives

The National Initiative for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NI-SCOPS) is driving a revolution in Nigerian palm oil production.

The collaborative effort with Solidaridad, IDH, and various partners is strategically focused on harnessing climate-smart agriculture to elevate palm oil yields across the nation.

Recently, on November 16, 2023, stakeholders gathered in Abuja for a pivotal workshop themed “Achieving an Economic and Social Ecological Resilient Palm Oil Sector: Context and Policy Direction.”

This forum aimed to provide a practical platform for exploring and implementing sustainable and climate-smart agricultural techniques within the oil palm industry.

At the core of this movement is Mr. Eniola Fabusoro, the Senior Program Manager at IDH. His articulated objective during the workshop was to rally the Federal Government’s attention towards amplifying palm oil production through climate-smart agricultural practices.

Nigeria, a significant palm oil producer in West Africa, sees states like Kogi, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Edo, and Ondo spearheading this transformative drive.

These states notably boast the highest percentage of independent smallholders, contributing substantially to the country’s palm oil output.

According to Fabusoro, the essence of sustainable palm oil cultivation extends beyond mere production; it’s about empowering smallholder farmers to attain prosperity while championing climate-smart practices.

Dr. Celestine Ikuenobe, the recent executive director at the National Institute for Research (NIFOR), highlighted a pressing concern.

Despite Nigeria’s domestic production of 1.4 million metric tons of palm oil, the country’s demand stands at a staggering 3 million metric tons annually.

The growing population, currently exceeding 200 million, relies on the same land area that was once more than sufficient for production.

Ikuenobe underscored the disparity, stating,

Even though we produce more than we did previously, our population of over 200 million people still receives palm oil from roughly the same amount of land and growers

Comparatively, Nigeria’s cultivation area is dwarfed—less than 800,000 hectares—when pitted against the expansive 16.3 million hectares in Indonesia and 65.6 million hectares in Malaysia.

Mr. George Ajabor, the Secretary of the Oil Palm Grower Association of Nigeria (OPGAN), emphasized the urgency of farmer training.

He highlighted the critical need for government and allied agencies to focus on enhancing productivity while mitigating the adverse effects on the environment, especially the looming threat of deforestation.

The primary hurdle faced by smallholder farmers, as outlined by Ajabor, is financial constraints. He passionately implored the government to furnish these farmers with the requisite resources to foster growth and sustainability.

This impactful initiative, presently underway across six pivotal states—Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Ondo, Enugu, and Kogi—holds the promise of not only elevating the country’s palm oil output but also heralding a fundamental shift in Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape.

It’s a concerted effort set to redefine the nation’s future.



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