The National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN) has raised the alarm that owners of palm oil plantation would soon be sent out of business unless the federal government stops unrestricted legal and illegal entry of cheap crude palm oil into the country.
The NPPAN raised the alarm at a news conference addressed by the Ondo State branch of the association, stating that the federal government policy to develop the nation’s palm oil industry was being sabotaged through nefarious activities of some people and companies.
The NPPAN Chairman in Ondo State, Mr. Baderinwa Adetula, said that the price of crude palm oil has been witnessing downward trend since August 2017.
He said it was unusual for price of palm oil to go down during this period because it is off season when price is expected to be stable or going up because of high demand and low production at this time.
Adetula said they had no doubt that the product was being smuggled into the country through the West Coast of Africa because palm oil producing countries in the region have the same climatic condition with Nigeria.
He said it was clear that the palm that were labelled from these West African countries were not actually from there but brought in from other countries outside West Africa, insisting there was no way any of those countries could have surpassed Nigeria in production during off season.
“This new trend of allowing cheap palm oil into the country will definitely send all palm plantation owners out of the field again and that will increase nonperforming loans in the financial sector.
“The ripple effect on employment is left for every one imagination, both in the agriculture and financial sectors of the economy.
“If the trend is not stopped there will be massive loss of employment in the agriculture sector which everybody is looking up to.
” It may interest all to know that a ship load of palm oil imported into the country is killing not less than 4,000 job in Nigeria and sustaining not less than 4000 jobs in the country where the palm oil is imported from”, Adetula stated.
The NPPAN chairman therefore urged the federal government to call all agencies especially the border agencies to stem the trend of all manners of vegetable oil entering the country illegally, further adding that Nigerian citizens’ jobs must be protected as the oil palm industry is a big employer of labour.
Adetula also called on the government to as a matter of policy set up farm tanks in strategic locations in palm oil producing states to enable appropriate government agency to monitor the quality and quantity of palm oil production in Nigeria.
The NPPAN also urged the government to extend the policy of on rise production to oil palm production, which is fast making Nigeria self-suuficient in rice production, thereby conserving foreign exchange.
He urged the National Assembly to invite the leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service and similar organisations for questioning this act of sabotage.