Nigeria spends $500m annually importing palm oil, says FG
Officials from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, states, agencies and non-governmental organizations on Thursday said Nigeria was spending about $500m annually on palm oil imports.
At the National Workshop on Palm oil organized in Abuja by Solidaridad, an international NGO, senior government officials and other stake holders agreed to partner to reduce the continued import of the commodity.
Speaking on the sidelines of the workshop, the Deputy Director, Federal Department for Agriculture, FMARD, Bernard Okata, said, “The partnership is to move the palm oil 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.
“So, there is a gap. We import to make up for this gap and Nigeria is spending about $500m annually for this importation up till now”.
Okata explained that the volume of oil and fat that Nigeria requires was about three million metric tonnes, but it had been difficult to meet this demand.
He said, “We have oils from groundnut, soybean and all that. But from oil palm alone, we are producing 1.02 million MT, while MT and so the shortfall is about 350,000MT.
“So the significance of this partnership is to ensure that the foreign exchange is channeled to the development of other activities if we can expand our oil palm production to satisfy our local industries.
On his part, the Senior Climate Specialist for Africa at Solidaridad, who doubles as Country Technical Lead, Nigeria, Sam Ogala, stated that Nigeria was not meeting its domestic demand for oil palm.
He added, “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 palms are finding their way to the Nigerian market.