A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Solidaridad, has said that it will provide technical support to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in developing Nigeria’s oil palm sector.
Solidaridad made the pledge in a statement issued on Thursday, March 4, 2021 by its Programme Officer – Communication, Outreach and Networking, Mr Pita Ochai.
The statement quoted Solidaridad’s Senior Climate Specialist, Africa and Country Technical Lead in Nigeria, Dr Samuel Ogallah, as “expressing optimism that the NGO’s collaboration with the ministry would contribute significantly to the growth of agriculture in Nigeria’’.
According to it, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Solidaridad and the ministry on March 4, in Enugu, aligned with the organisation’s aim to support Nigeria’s capacity-building.
The statement noted that the efforts would also ensure that Nigeria regained its leading role in the global production of oil palm.
It emphasised that the support would guarantee Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in agriculture and divestment of the economy from dependency on crude oil.
“With this, the two parties will collaborate based on mutual goals, interests, competency, expertise, and resources in the agricultural sector.
“The collaboration will also improve the productivity of the agricultural sector and ensure that it contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product of the country.
“Solidaridad has immense expertise in agriculture, guided by over 50 years of experience working across various supply chains.
“Nigeria will benefit from Solidaridad’s expertise in her effort to transform the agricultural sector,’’ the statement elucidated.
While describing the MoU as a welcome development, it pointed out that it would propel the efforts of Solidaridad West Africa and FMARD toward the achievement of food sufficiency and export for the country.
Solidaridad’s footprints in Nigeria spans more than a decade and has largely been on improving oil palm, cocoa and horticulture.
Presently, Solidaridad is implementing the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu, and Kogi states, while its partner, IDH, is implementing NISCOPS in Edo and Ondo states.
According to the statement, NISCOPS is improving the production of oil palm through best management and sustainable land-use practices and climate-smart agriculture.
“The programme is aimed at improving the income and livelihoods of smallholder oil palm farmers in the project implementing states and the national food security at large.
“Additionally, Solidaridad is implementing the horticultural programme, the Sustainable Development Goal Project 1, dubbed ‘Transforming Nigeria’s Vegetable Markets’ in Kano and Kaduna,’’ it added.
The two programmes are funded by the Government of Netherlands.