From Nduka Chiejina, Assistant Editor, Abuja
Members of the Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN) have decried their inability to access the recent Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) oil palm development funds.
The newly-elected President of the Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN), Mr. Joe Onyiuke, accused previous leadership of the association for failing to create structures and properly organise it.
The lack of structure and organisation, he said, “limited members from accessing the oil palm development funds recently unveiled by the apex bank”.
Onyiuke said: “Other associations have been accessing the CBN interventions and they’ve been doing very well.
“If you look at cotton, it has transformed this country again. Our uniformed men are now buying cotton grown from this country. This was done by both the CBN governor and the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.”
The union leader recalled that the CBN governor recently held meetings with oil palm stakeholders, regretting that the association failed to organise itself to access the development funds.
Onyiuke said the nation’s “oil palm value chain has enormous potentials to bring Nigeria back to where it should be in the world of palm oil market”.
To benefit from the potentials, he said the association must be better organised, going forward.
The OPGAN president urged the Federal Government to provide adequate funding for the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), which is capable of repositioning the sector for greater output.
Nigeria’s oil palm potentials, Onyiuke said, could command 80 per cent share of the oil palm of every household, if the commodity growers were properly educated and mobilised.
He promised that his leadership “will do everything possible to run a very transparent administration. We will do our accounting system the way it is done all over the world. All of us are united by one religion here- oil palm”.
Onyiuke added: “We need to bring oil palm back to the original status, as it used to be a major foreign exchange earner for this country. It is my desire to organise every smallholder farmer in Nigeria together and begin to do proper training and education.”