Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state yesterday said the state was ready to commit between 100,000 to 150,000 hectares of land to the cultivation of oil palm plantations over a period of “five to 10 years.”
Obaseki disclosed that his administration was determined to expand the total land available for oil palm cultivation in the state from the current 40,000 hectares to between 100,000 to 150,000 hectares of land.
The governor made the disclosure when he received Malaysian investors who were on a business visit at the Government House in Benin City.
He recalled that his visit to Malaysia in October 2017 was to see how the state can use proceeds from oil palm cultivation to transform her economy using the development model perfected in Malaysia and the entire South East Asia.
According to him, Edo state is the home of oil palm cultivation in Africa with the three biggest oil palm producing companies located here.
He said: “At a time in history, huge revenue accrued from oil palm production was used to drive development before the discovery of crude oil, which is no longer sustainable. Returning to oil palm production for us in Edo is the way out.
“In this part of the world, we have climatic condition similar to Malaysia, which makes the state suitable for cultivating oil palm.”
Head, Sime Derby Renewables, Azli Razali, who led the delegation of Malaysian investors on the business visit, said they were in the state to explore business opportunities and seek possible ways to partner with the Edo state government on oil palm production.
“The team of investors from Malaysia considered Edo state a choice destination for cultivating oil palm and the business visit presents opportunity for them to explore the state’s forest assets,” he said.