Following the loss of almost all of its oil well to Delta State, following the its creation from the former Mid-West and later Bendel State, the Edo State government plans to massively invest in the oil palm sector, another area of comparative advantage, in its quest to diversify the state’s economy beyond crude oil.
Most of the oil-bearing communities of the region are today located in Delta State, which was also carved out of the former Bendel State, following which Edo has lost the bulk of its oil revenue, becoming at some point almost a civil service state.
Receiving the report of the 14-man committee to develop an oil palm plan for the state at the Edo State Government House in Benin on Thursday, Governor Godwin Obaseki assured that his administration is determined to make oil Palm Edo State’s new crude oil.
“t will be the key driver of our development. The state still has one of the largest estates of oil palm, which have the highest yield in the country. We want to leverage on our high-yielding varieties and long tradition of oil palm production to acquire about 100, 000 hectares of land for the development of oil palm estates. The production will be of global standards and yield”.
Continuing, the governor commended the committee members for their efforts towards gathering the report assuring them that the government would acquire the necessary resources to execute the project.
‘’We will, within the next two weeks, create a smaller team to come up with a work plan on how to execute the feasibility plan, work out the image capturing of the land to be used, and get the involvement of the host community for the project.
The committee in its report, according to the chairman, Toni Ogunbor, recommended four key issues that must be addressed to bring the project to fruition.
These are: Land development, provision of security, infrastructure and the need to have data on soil and weather conditions.