Akpan Umoh, Uyo
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has trained entrepreneurs in the palm oil business in Akwa Ibom State on the 21st-century method of palm oil production to boost export.
The Deputy Director, NEPC, Akwa Ibom Coordinating Office, Mrs Pauline Ndulaka, during a one-day workshop, said the training is based on global best practices to help sell the product in the international market seamlessly.
She said that the choice of Akwa Ibom is based on the fact that the state has a high comparative advantage in oil palm which is in line with the NEPC’s new policy of One State -One Product (OSOP).
Ndulaka said that the effort will empower the state and its communities towards achieving economic growth through adequate usage of their locally available resources and ultimately boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the process.
She said that in spite of Nigeria being one of the biggest producers of oil palm, the country is still importing the product which is unhealthy for its economic survival.
“The place of palm produce in our National Development cannot be overemphasised, be it in the area of oil palm fruit, palm oil, palm kernel oil, palm kernel cake (PKC), refined palm oil, palm shell, empty fruit Bunch (EFB), palm fibres, sludge, oil palm roots, oil palm trunk, oil palm leaves, etc.
“In 2014, the Federal Government of Nigeria listed 13 strategic Export Products drawn from the Three Core Areas of Agro-Industry, Mining/Allied Produce, and Oil and Gas Industry and Palm Oil is among the thirteen products under Agro-Industrial Products.
“The NEPC in furtherance of the policy came up with a supportive programme- One State -One Product (OSOP) initiative which is designed to create employment in the states through value-addition e.g., identified products, among others.
“All the States in the South-South listed palm produce as one of their major OSOP products, it is pertinent to mention that Akwa Ibom State has chosen palm oil as their number one OSOP product,” Ndulaka said.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Trade and Investment in Akwa Ibom, Mr Oliver Udoukpo, said that the ministry will continue to collaborate with the agency to boost export in the state
In his remarks, the Director-General of the Association of Nigerian Exporters, Mr Joseph Idiong, admonished the potential exporters not to relent in efforts to engage in export business to attract foreign currency.