THE Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said Nigeria can earn $20bn annually from oil palm production, hence the need to diversify the country’s economy.
Obaseki stated this while addressing journalists in Benin City. He noted that the effect of COVID -19 pandemic and fall of crude oil prices highlighted the urgent need to diversify the country’s economy in order to create alternative sources of revenue.
According to the governor, his government has keyed into diversification by significantly investing in the agricultural sector to boost the state’s economy, tackle food insecurity and create wealth for citizens of the 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 said.
He disclosed that the state had launched the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) in partnership with other private sector stakeholders including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The governor noted that CBN had committed about N69 billion under the ESOPP programme to “support investors who invested in oil palm in Edo State, in line with the federal government’s determination to diversify the economy.”
Still on its intervention in the agricultural sector, Obaseki added that his government had also introduced the Edo Agripreneur programme to attract more investment in the sector thereby increasing the output by farmers and creating more viable economic opportunities for people in the state.