The Oasis Reporters
November 25, 2020
The Africa Oil Palm Initiative (APOI) has said that Edo State leads Nigeria in oil palm development as a result of structures and instruments set up to meet requirements for sustainable oil palm production that meets international standards while protecting the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
The submission is contained in a report by the APOI titled Africa Oil Palm Initiative: Highlights 2019-2020, which ranks Edo among 9 other oil palm producing countries in Africa signed up on the APOI platform, with the other partners being Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone.
Recall that Governor Godwin Obaseki had recently announced the allocation of over 40,000 hectares of land to 6 firms for commercial agriculture, particularly oil palm development, working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the Edo State Oil Palm Programme, valued at N69bn.
According to the APOI, “In Edo State, Nigeria, the sustainable trade initiative (IDH) has identified the APOI state platform as an effective multi-stakeholder platform and is currently working with the platform to deliver their new programme called National Initiative for Sustainable Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholder (NISCOPS).
“The APOI platform and IDH plan to address challenges that have an impact on the livelihoods of smallholder producers in the region, who have struggled to produce and sell their Fresh Fruit Bunches, hindered by low productivity leading to low profits.”
It said that Edo State is implementing radical changes to its land usage that sees local communities providing informed consent in the process of land allocation for plantation farming.
According to the report, “Land use planning forms an integral part of APOI principles and actions in countries where land use issues remain.
APOI is supporting the Republic of Congo and Edo State platforms to develop Free, Prior & Informed Consent (FPIC) guidelines where indigenous peoples and local CSOs were involved in the process.
The FPIC process will ensure that local communities give their informed consent prior to land allocation to ensure the use of the land for oil palm development does not significantly affect their access to land for other uses including subsistence farming.
“APOI also supports the use of High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) approaches to land use within agricultural landscapes. This ensures social and environmental conservation areas within agricultural landscapes are excluded from industrial agro-commodity development.
“The contribution of all these measures to sustainable land use is significant as the responsible oil palm development principles and action plans are intended to maximise environmental and social sustainability outcomes while supporting economic development goals at jurisdictional and landscape scale in West and Central Africa.”