Solidaridad West Africa says it is making progress in enabling governments in Nigeria and Ghana to support and work with farmers toward a more sustainable climate-smart oil palm production.
Stakeholders stated this in an at the end of a two-day Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) Wrap-up Workshop organised by Solidaridad West Africa – Nigeria in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The workshop was organised under the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) in West Africa being run by Solidaridad and IDH and funded by the Government of Netherlands.
The programme, which aims to build capacity of smallholders, organisations and local institutions to improve performance, is placing smallholder farmers at the centre of interventions as change agents in the oil palm sector.
The CSO stakeholders and participants at the end of the workshop expressed satisfaction that the project being executed in Akwa-Ibom, Cross-Rivers, Enugu and Kogi states was making steady progress.
They expressed optimism that lessons learnt at the workshop would positively impact their various approaches to executing the Solidaridad intervention in ensuring sustainable oil palm production.
According to Dr Sam Ogallah, the Solidaridad Technical Team Lead, the CSOs from the four states have given good account of themselves in their presentation on the journey so far.
“I think they have made impressive presentations. I am happy to see the level of impact that solidaridad is making in the four states through the activities of the CSOs that we are engaging in the various States.
“It is also impactful to note how the livelihood of oil palm farmers are being transformed in all the states we are working. That shows clearly that indeed, Solidaridad is making and creating that ‘Change That Really Matters’ which is our slogan.
“On the way forward, I think the reward for good work is more work. We will continue to engage with the CSOs and continue to consolidate on our gains, so far,” he said.
Mr Kene Onukwube, Project Manager of NISCOPS, said it was expected that the CSOs would become more vibrant to take up issues of social and or legislative advocacy at the end of the workshop.
Onukwube said they would also be able to help communities on how to process the challenges of social inclusion with policy makers and the Legislature and as well, engage with private sector actors in the states for fundraising opportunities.
One of the participants, Mr James Odiba, Managing Partner of Intellect Associates A&J Ltd., said that the Wrap-up Workshop exposed the CSOs to what they needed to know in the NISCOPS project and enabled deeper understanding of the goals of the programme.
Odiba said the workshop also helped to inform participants how Solidaridad West Africa-Nigeria should be known and reported, adding that the workshop was worth the effort as its potentials to build stronger commitment in the participants to support NISCOPS project.
Also speaking, Ms Halima Sadiq of Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) lauded Solidaridad for encouraging small holder farmers participation and involvement in sustainable oil palm production in communities.
Sadid particularly commended the resource mobilisation and proposal writing aspects of the workshop, adding that state actors and the private sector had a huge role to play investing in the oil palm sector.