Nigerian Palm Oil Industry at Crossroads: Expert Calls for Technological Overhaul to Regain Global Prominence

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In a bid to address the alarming decline of Nigeria’s palm oil industry, Professor Kehinde Owolarafe, a distinguished expert from the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University, delivered a compelling presentation titled “Appropriate Technologies for improving the Yield and Quality of Palm Oil” at a recent workshop in Osogbo, Osun state capital.




Expressing deep concern over Nigeria’s plummeting status from a global palm oil leader to a mere contender, Prof. Owolarafe highlighted critical factors contributing to this regression. He lamented the persistent reliance on imported palm oil due to the local industry’s failure to meet demand. Despite a surge in production, Nigeria struggles to surpass two million tonnes, while Indonesia and Malaysia produce tens of millions.




The distinguished academic traced Nigeria’s historic dominance in palm oil production back to the early 20th century, emphasizing the need for urgent action to reverse the current trajectory. He identified aging oil palm plantations, inadequate processing technologies, and unfavorable government policies as primary obstacles hindering Nigeria’s palm oil sector.




Addressing the audience, Prof. Owolarafe stressed the imperative of enhancing both the quantity and quality of palm oil production to meet international standards for export. He issued a stern warning against the adulteration of palm oil, emphasizing the health risks associated with substandard products.




Furthermore, he urged stakeholders to embrace modern processing methods and prioritize hygiene to ensure the safety and quality of palm oil products. Prof. Owolarafe underscored the urgent need for a comprehensive restructuring of Nigeria’s palm oil industry to align with global best practices.




The workshop, attended by participants from the South-West and South-South Zones of Nigeria, focused on promoting the value chain of palm oil through standardization. The event aimed to raise awareness among producers, distributors, processors, and end-users about the importance of adhering to standards, thereby enhancing efficiency and increasing income across the value chain.





Highlighting the potential of palm oil as a renewable energy source, Prof. Owolarafe emphasized its role in improving Nigeria’s economy. He emphasized that standardization would not only boost income and employment opportunities but also facilitate exports, positioning Nigeria as a key player in the global palm oil market.





In conclusion, Prof. Owolarafe’s call for technological innovation and adherence to standards serves as a rallying cry for the revitalization of Nigeria’s palm oil industry. With concerted efforts and strategic interventions, Nigeria can reclaim its position as a leading producer and exporter of palm oil, thus driving economic growth and prosperity.

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