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Senate wants ban on importation of palm oil into Nigeria

The Senate on Tuesday in Abuja urged the Federal Government to ban importation of palm oil into the country in order to protect local production as well as encourage farmers.

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This followed the unanimous adoption of a motion entitled: “Urgent Need to Halt the Importation of Palm Oil and its Allied Products to Protect Palm Oil Industry in Nigeria.’’

In a lead debate, the sponsor of the motion, Sen. Francis Alimikhena (Edo-APC), decried importation of palm produce into the country.

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Alimikhena expressed concern that importation of palm kernel and allied palm products are threats to Federal Government’s campaign on diversification of the economy through increased agricultural production and exports.

He said that Nigeria imported about 450, 000 tonnes of palm oil to the tune of N116.3 billion in 2017.

“Nigeria was the world leading producer of palm oil at independence, but unfortunately, Indonesia and Malaysia have overtaken us and we are now importing palm oil.

“Malaysia which is widely believed to have collected its first seedlings from Nigeria some decades ago, is now exporting palm oil products to us.

“The government must reverse this trend with copious investments in the local palm industry and the protection of local producers from unnecessary imports,’’ Alimikhena said.

Contributing, Sen. Theodore Orji (Abia-PDP) said there was need to establish a special fund to encourage local production of palm oil in the country.

He also expressed concern that many oil production plants in the country were moribund.

On his part, Sen. Jibrin Barau(Kano-APC) called for introduction of policies that would be targeted at encouraging local production of cash crops.

Sen. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano-APC) also urged the Federal Government to ban importation of cash crops that can be produced locally.

In his remarks, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said that the importance of reviving the country’s palm oil industry cannot be overemphasised.

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