AGRIBUSINESS IS THE STRENGTH: Leverage the Oil Palm Development and Production.

Written By: Nsa Ekpenyong and edited and published by Agim Godwin Apple,

The key to sustainable growth in any government is the ability of the leadership to lean on its strengths and manage its weaknesses. Ekpenyong Nsa 2023

This is exactly what the people’s governance plays out with the agricultural sector. Cross River State has been a long-time victim of many but questionable circumstances in the oil-producing states’ dramas, losing on many fronts.

These events left so many scars deep in the souls of dear Crossriverians over some time now. Yet the people are unemotional about those losses, they sheathed their swords, unlike many others around the country.

Knowing quite well that oil can also come from above when developed.

This is what His Excellency Governor Otu’s Government is activating in the minds of the people across the state.

How best they can tap their oil from above rather than drill from beneath, leveraging on the state’s strength in agriculture as the driving force to turn the economy around with perennial and biennial crops with climate consequences.

Undoubtedly, the state executive resolution on agriculture came as a resounding reminder to all Crossriverians of the strength of agribusiness in the state.

Looking at the widespread fertile land, green land tropical climate, wealthy riverine mangrove and aquacultural wetland, the state is truly endowed with the potential for agricultural productivity.

Harnessing the opportunities in the fallow but fertile grounds of agriculture with a little twist of innovation will be a game changer, just like the government has set the framework towards that actionable goal.

The Government’s resolve to investigate soil health is quite commendable and a step toward a better-organized sector to boost productivity. Other mentions were on irrigation systems, investment in the ‘Project Grow’ and cassava project etc.

But our central theme here is on oil palm development and production in the state. As reference to Ambassador Agim Godwin Apple on the needs for the development of the Hybrid Tenera oil palms estates establishment.

Seemingly, Cross River State is still a major oil-producing state and stands out as one of the best in the country when it comes to oil palm investment and production.

Palm trees are herbaceous perennial crops produced from mostly the humid tropical conditions found in the southern region of Nigeria.

Naturally, Cross River State has been one of the palm farm owners and producers of palm produce for a very long time.

This, at the time, was one of the sources of income generation and sustenance of the state and the people.

Still today, the Government is finding a way around it to get the best of its viability to boost the local economy.

Momentarily, new palm estates are springing up, and old once scaling higher in production output. The government is not resting on its successes but simultaneously pushing the boundaries of doing more for the sustainability and expansion of the estates for more production capacity.

The government’s proactive strategy to raise the status of oil palm output by developing 3.5 million oil palm seedling nurseries in 13 selected places across the state is vital for the near future.

Gaining a thorough grasp of how the state’s economy operates and how resource demand is met is essential for making these well-informed decisions and creating successful policies. Increasing the capacity of the palm trees in the farms will invariably increase the production capacity to power the state economy.

The ripple effect of this initiative will trigger many benefits to the people of the state both the rural dwellers and urban occupiers.

Hence, the elevation of oil palm production status in the state is reasoned by the people’s first perspective to bring about Employment, entrepreneurship, smallholder enterprises, and value chain merchants.

Slowly but steadily the sweet season is budding alive to service the hope of the people in empowerment for emancipation.

The development of these Oil Palm seedling nurseries across the state will bring a lot of constructive gains to the recipient communities and the agrarian workforce.

Also, the production processes of the existing farms around the state will surely engage many hands directly or indirectly.

From whichever angle one looks at this project it will begin and end with the good news of employment and empowerment.
Geographically, oil palm estates have occupied 65% of the cultivated lands in Cross River State.

The state boasts an excess of oil palm estates and plantations, both privately owned and state-owned. All around the 18 Local Government Areas blocks of oil palm farms are dotted all over the widespread horizon of the palm-rich state.

These palm estates and plantations are not just rich in their natural aesthetic appeal or touristic views but most importantly it is the economic powerhouse for opportunities.

Approximately, from available indices Cross River has a market value of 300,000 metric tons of oil palm per annum, making it one of the highest producers among the very few at the top.

Some of the most notable amongst the estates in terms of production capacity are the Boki Oil palm estate in Boki, and the Nsadop Oil palm estate also in Boki Local Government Area. Calaro Oil Palm Estate in Akampka and Eyip Eku Oil Palm is also in Akampa Local Government Area.

Specifically, the activation of the Eyip Eku Oil palm estate deal to the tune of $15 million as reported is a door opener for others to follow suit.

The synergy between private partners and the state initiative has transformed the state into an agribusiness hub.

So much so, the able partners of the Eyip Eku Oil Palm Company have moved into action by collaborating with the residual communities, massive recruitment and mobilizing to sites to begin business.

As they stabilize in business the fallout of its operations in production will pull in sub-enterprises created by entrepreneurs as smallholders and value chain merchants.

This is what the People First government means, employment and empowerment opportunities are beginning to trickle in without delay.

As Crossriverians, the part of His Excellency Governor government’s economic rejuvenation by agribusiness holds clear promises.

His calculated emphasis on agriculture’s innate strength is indicative of a sustainable goal.  The sweetness of this government must be moved from social benevolence to participatory services that involve every hand, individual and collective initiatives.

It is anticipated that these projects will flow through, creating opportunities for entrepreneurship, employment, and value chain growth, supporting the government’s People First objective. 

The government is telling people to get ready for work, which can involve getting direct employment or forming their own enterprises that grow palm fruits, develop seedlings or progress up the value chain to become agro-merchants.

All these are channels of engagement for empowerment in the agribusiness sector. As promised more opportunities are on the way from other sectors but we have to embrace what is potentially available to us now.

Cross River State is lighting aflame a new era, a reset of the people’s mindset, to embrace agribusiness as the strength of the state, where the sweet season of empowerment and economic emancipation is coming alive for its people Finland

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