Stakeholders in the agricultural sector have said that Nigeria is currently spending about $500 million importing oil palm annually.
The stakeholders made this known on at National Workshop on Oil Palm organised in Abuja by Solidaridad, an international NGO.
The stakeholders agreed to partner to reduce the continued import of the commodity.
The Senior Climate Specialist for Africa at Solidaridad, Dr Samuel Ogallah, said Nigeria was not meeting its domestic demand for oil palm.
Ogallah who is also the Country Technical Lead, Nigeria, said the $500 million the country spends annually shows there is a huge gap in meeting the demand.
“In the early 1960s before the oil boom, Nigeria was exporting oil palm, but after that oil boom we started importing and all forms of oil palm are finding their way to the Nigerian market,” he said.
Ogallah said the workshop was for stakeholders to have a conversation around oil palm production in Nigeria, especially as it relates to producing oil palm in a changing climate.
He said this would involve talking about policy issues relating to oil palm and climate-smart production of oil palm.
Speaking on the sidelines of the workshop, Deputy Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, FMARD, Bernard Okata, said, “the partnership is to move the oil palm sector forward.
“Our current local requirement for oil generally is about three million metric tonnes but we are producing about 1.02 metric tonnes of oil palm.
“We import to make up for this gap and Nigeria is spending about $500m annually for this importation up till now.”
“We have oils from groundnut, soybean and all that. But from oil palm alone we are producing 1.02million MT, while from other oils we produce 1.7million MT and so the shortfall is about 350,000MT,” he added.