Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reiterated the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy from crude oil, noting that the nation could earn as much as $20bn annually from the cultivation and production of oil palm.
Obaseki, who spoke to journalists in state capital Benin City, in the South-South region of the country, said the decline in prices of crude oil and the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance and urgency to diversify the country’s economy, creating an alternative source of revenue.
The governor said his government was investing hugely in the agricultural sector to boost the state’s economy, tackle food insecurity and create wealth for Edo citizens.
According to him, “The Nigerian oil palm economy has the capability of earning over $20 billion for our country annually just for cultivation and production. This is why in Edo State, we have taken the bold step of increasing the production of oil palm by supporting investors through the provision of land and a peaceful, secure and business-friendly environment to boost their investment.”
He noted that to “effectively and efficiently encourage investors, the state launched the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) in partnership with other private sector stakeholders including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Under the programme, the CBN committed about N69 billion to support investors, who invested in oil palm in Edo State, in line with the federal government’s determination to diversify the economy,” the governor said.
Obaseki, however, added that the government also introduced the Edo Agripreneur programme to increase investment in the agricultural sector to create viable economic opportunities for youth and upscale production by farmers in the state.