Okomu Foresees Flourishing Palm Oil Industry in Nigeria

September 30, 2021
Palm Oil Industry

By Dipo Olowookere

The palm oil industry in Nigeria can rightly be said to have gone from grace to grass because many years ago, it was the world’s leading producer but today, it has slipped to fifth.

What could have caused this fall from grace? This was what CNN International’s Larry Madowo tried to find out in this week’s Marketplace Africa.

According to the major players in the sector, Nigeria’s palm oil production suffered shortcomings, mostly due to the fact that 80 per cent of production is driven by smallholder farmers.

Factors such as infrastructural backlogs, poor roads, blocked or backed up ports and lack of electricity make the production much more expensive, the makers pointed out.

But despite these issues, some producers are looking to navigate the storm and place Nigeria on top once more because they believe the future is bright for the sector and this is why a publicly quoted company, Okomu Oil Plc, is working with smallholder farmers to achieve this goal.

The firm, which boasts of a 20,000- hectare plantation, disclosed that Nigerian palm oil producers were prioritising sustainable business practices in order to counter deforestation and preserve the natural biome. They are looking into environmentally friendly ways of generating power.

“We are also, as I mentioned earlier, very interested and involved with the smallholder farmers to try and increase their production, and also to assist them by being a company that will, will, will guarantee uptake of their product,” the Managing Director of Okomu Oil, Mr Graham Hefer, told CNN.

He further said, “We have also put in a five-megawatt turbine, which is run through the steam production at the oil mill, which will actually take care of most of our internal power requirements for most of the year.”

Through innovation, Mr Hefer hopes to “see an industry that that is, going forward into the future, highly sustainable. One that is environmentally friendly and is working in unison with government and other stakeholders, right through the pipeline, to create an industry that is second to none in the world.”

As for the co-founder of Agritech start-up, Relief, Mr Ikenna Nzewi, technology innovation will create a better and more efficient value chain in the industry.

He said manufacturers have created West Africa’s most advanced palm nut de-shelling technology that allows them to de-shell nuts and crushes kernels into crude vegetable oil before selling them to fast-moving consumer good processors.

Dipo Olowookere

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

Mr Olowookere can be reached via [email protected]

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