With the commitment of about N69 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), smallholder farmers in the state have applauded the Governor Godwin Obaseki- led administration for creating the right environment to attract the investment.
A cross section of the farmers, who spoke to journalists, in Benin City, the Edo State capital, said the investment would revolutionalise the oil palm sector in the state which will have a spiral effect on other aspects of the economy. Mrs. Esosa Igbinoba, a farmer in Okada axis of the state, said the investment would allow a number of the plantation owners expand their hectarage and processing capacity, which will have positive effect on smallholder farmers in the axis. She said: “We were excited when we heard that the CBN will be committing billions of naira for the development of the oil palm sector in Edo State.
“We already have two heavyweights in Nigeria’s oil palm sector, namely Okomu Plc and Presco Plc, in the state. The investment further opens up the field for more players. “Particularly, we want to thank Governor Godwin Obaseki for making the land available for the plantation owners and smallholder farmers to access the fund. We are very confident that the investment will transform the state for the better.” On his part, Mr. Emmanuel Usen, said the state governor has shown uncommon resolve in unlocking land assets to attract investment.