Nigeria

What follows is a brief description of the oil palm issue in Nigeria. After reading it, we invite you to send us comments.

Oil palm in Nigeria

West Africa used to be the centre of the palm oil industry. The export of palm kernels began in 1832 and by 1911 “British” West Africa alone exported 157,000 tonnes of which about 75 percent came from Nigeria. In the 1870s, British administrators took the plant to Malaysia and in 1934 that country surpassed Nigeria as the largest exporter of the product. Led by Nigeria and Zaire, Africa continued to lead the world in production and export of palm oil throughout the first half of the 20th century. By 1966, however, Malaysia and Indonesia had surpassed Africa’s total palm oil production.[1] [2]

In Nigeria, oil palm is indigenous to the coastal plain, having migrated inland as a staple crop. For millions of Nigerians, oil palm cultivation is part of the way of life –indeed it is part of their culture. However, during the past decades the country has become a net importer of palm oil. While in the early 1960s, Nigeria’s palm oil production accounted for 43% of the world production, nowadays it only accounts for 7% of total global output. [3]

In Nigeria 80% of production comes from dispersed smallholders who harvest semi-wild plants and use manual processing techniques. Several million smallholders are spread over an estimated area ranging from 1.65 million hectares[4] to 2.4 million hectares[5] and to a maximum of 3 million hectares. [6]

As documented in the case of Akwa Ibom State, women play an important role in the production, storage and commercialization of red palm oil (see details in annex below).

Regarding plantations, estimates range from 169,000 hectares (72,000 ha of estate plantations and 97,000 ha of smallholder plantations)[7] to 360,000 hectares of plantations.[8] [9] [10]

Many of those plantations are the result of past attempts of the Nigerian government to implement large-scale plantations, most of which resulted in complete failures. Such were the cases of the 1960′s Cross River State project and of the European Union-funded “Oil palm belt rural development programme” in the 1990′s. This project included the plantation of 6,750 hectares of oil palm within an area thought to be one of the largest remnants of tropical rainforest in Nigeria and it was implemented by a company called Risonpalm Ltd., partly owned by the government. In spite of local opposition, the project moved forward and EU funding was only discontinued in 1995, seven years after its approval. [11] The plantation was abandoned in 1999 and reactivated in 2003.[12] In 2010, the local governor announced his intention to privatize it, stating that “We will not put money into Risonpalm again” and that “We will only bring people who will put in their money and manage Risonpalm very well.”[13]

The World Bank played an important role in the promotion of the oil palm business in Nigeria. According to a recent World Bank document, Nigeria has been “the second largest recipient of World Bank palm oil sector projects, with six projects over the 1975 to 2009 period. One project is still under implementation. Results achieved included the plantation of 42,658 ha of oil palm, as well as road improvement and increased milling capacity.[14]

Government management of its plantation estates proved to be disastrous. As the governor of Rivers State recently said “Government has put so much money in Risonpalm and so many people became rich out of Risonpalm by stealing the money. Now we will not put money again so that people won’t steal our money anymore.”[15]

As a result, many oil palm producers eventually inherited abandoned government plantations which were sub-divided and leased to private producers. Some individual owners formed limited liability companies. These have younger plants/fields some of which are yet to fruit, while most of the oil palm plantations are over 30 years.[16]

The Federal Government appears to be now willing to revitalise oil palm production. In April 2010, the government launched –together with the UN’s Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the government of Cameroon- a Common Fund for Commodities “in order to improve the income generating potential of oil palm in West and Central Africa.” The initiative was developed by UNIDO and funding is shared between Nigeria, Cameroon, UNIDO and the private sector.[17]

In line with the above, officials of Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) have recently said that “promotion of private sector participation in oil palm plantation holds the ace in effective revival of the produce business in the country.” Director of NIFOR, Dr Dere Okiy has stated that “the land tenure system in the country” is a “limiting factor against private mass production of palm oil by individuals” and “called on local and state governments to provide land areas to oil palm farmers to encourage mass production of palm oil.”[18]

The increasing imports of palm oil -widely used by the Nigerian people as edible oil- may help to explain the recent government’s interest in palm oil production. Such may be the case with Presco, a subsidiary of Belgian company Siat S.A. that has oil palm plantations in two concessions in Edo State (the Obaretin Estate with 7,000 hectares and the Ologbo Estate with 6,000 hectares), and one in Delta State (the Cowan Estate, with 3,000 hectares). The company processes the oil palm fruit into different products within the country. [19]

However, the current worldwide push for the use of palm oil as the basis for the production of biodiesel probably provides a better explanation.

Italian company Fri-El Green Power is a good example of the above. The company first started investigating the potential for palm oil production in Nigeria during 2005 and in 2007 the first privatisation agreement for the government-owned Abia Palm oil palm plantation –in southern Nigeria- was signed. In July 2008, Fri-El Abia Palm Ltd. was officially opened by the Abia State governor during a ceremony in Ohambele. Shortly after this, work on the rehabilitation of the plantation started. At the same time the old oil mill in Mbwasi was repaired and brought into production.[20]

The Italian company plans to eventually use the palm oil processed in Nigeria to fuel liquid biomass power plants in Europe. Fri El Green Power has an 80% stake in the project while the Abia State Government has 20% with an obligation to transfer 10% to the local community. The company got a concession of 11,292 hectares, including the former Abia Palm plantation, and a right to extend the concession up to 100,000 ha.[21]

In spite of Nigeria’s massive electricity shortage, Fri-El Green Power does not plan to supply electricity locally. According to the company’s president Thomas Gostner. “We plan to invest in the palm oil plantation, the processing of the fruit and convert it into electricity in Europe.” In the best of cases, “each oil mill can additionally produce some electricity for local needs using waste product.”[22]

Everything seems to point at the possible expansion of oil palm plantations in Nigeria -revitalizing old ones and establishing new ones- both aimed at the national and international market. Local communities should be aware that local and state governments may in the future – as NIFOR demands- “provide land areas to oil palm farmers to encourage mass production of palm oil.”[23]

Annex 1: Oil Women of Akwa Ibom State

The red palm oil is a common ingredient in the cooking of almost every type of dish prepared in Nigeria. Akwa Ibom state, a coastal state in south eastern Nigeria is one of the areas where oil is produced in large quantities, mainly by women.

The processing of the fruits into vegetable oil is most commonly carried out by women. It begins with harvesting the ripe fruits which grows in clusters weighing between 20-30 Kilos. The women work communally in groups of 2 or 3. 10-20 bunches of ripe fruit from the palm tree are cut and gathered. The harvested fruits are then cut into smaller clusters and sprinkled with water, and then, covered with thick jute bags or banana leaves to aid fermentation and make it easy for the seeds to be picked easily from its spiky stalks.

Two or three days after, the seeds are picked, washed and packed in to iron drums and boiled. This process is tedious. Fire kindled from gathered fire-wood is usually prepared a night before and at intervals, rekindled to keep the fire cooking constantly hot. As early as 4 or 5 a.m. the boiled seeds whose fleshy pericarp has become soft and tender are scooped with a small basket or sieve bowl into an earth dug-out mortar, which has been fitted with a metal drum. The boiled seeds are then pounded with a wooden pestle to separate the fleshy pericarp from its hard kernel seeds.

The next stage involves scooping this mixture onto a flat trough or onto the ground which had been covered with banana leaves. The kernel seeds are then separated from the fibrous mash. This is then scooped into a cylindrical hollow press. The wrench is then turned slowly and gradually, as this is being done, the extracted oil from the holes in the press is guided through a duct at the bottom of the press into a large bowl, trough or container. This process is carried out several times until oil is drained from the marshy mixture.

The next stage is carefully draining the oil into containers; in doing so, the women are careful not to allow dirt, fiber or other foreign matter into the oil. The finished product if in large quantity may be further stored in larger metal drums awaiting buyers who come to buy them off these women and transported to other towns. If the oil is not so large in quantity they are then taken to the local market for sale; either way, the Akwa Ibom woman earns her money. Though the process is tedious, the oil is top quality if processed by an experienced producer.

Excerpted from “Oil Women of Akwa Ibom State” by Patrick B. Akpan

http://akwaibomstate.com/?p=209

Annex 2: “Foot pressing” of palm fruit into palm oil

A BBC slideshow describes with pictures the processing of the palm oil [24]

The process is described as follows:

“Once the kernels have been picked and brought home, women take over the palm oil production. They pour the hot kernels into a hollowed out log, placed in a shady spot. A woman steps into the trough and walks up and down its length. As they add more water, the husk begins to fall away from the nut, releasing the fatty yellow juice. As the woman treads up and down, the mixture makes a sucking, burping sound. It clings to her feet, clogging her toes and spreading a vivid yellow stain up her ankles.

There are two places in the state that have machines to do this, but people have stopped taking their crop to them as police demand bribes from people moving goods, wiping out their profits.

This harvest from a handful of trees has taken 48 hours to process. “This amount of kernels will get us one full jerry can of oil, that’s about 20 litres,” says one woman. They will be able to sell that for 3,000 naira ($20; £14). In the wet season they can make more oil, but the price goes down.

Traders come and buy the seeds for further processing. The seeds are roasted and then broken open. The translucent white inside the nut can be eaten and is itself rich in oil. This oil is extracted by a more complicated process and turned into a kind of tonic oil, which people rub on their children’s bodies. They say the oil prevents colds and flu.

Source: “In pictures: Nigerian palm oil”, by Andrew Walker


About these ads
This entry was posted in english. Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Nigeria

  1. Chima, Uzoma Darlington says:

    The article is well researched. The identified trend is indeed an ugly one. The alleged call by the Director of NIFOR – Dr. Dere Okiy, on the local and state governments to provide land areas to oil palm farmers to encourage mass production, is a call for disaster. That is another way of asking the respective governments to grab pockets of land from local people who depend on them for their livelihood.

    I am an Ngwa man from Abia State of Nigeria. In fact, my place is not too far from Mbawsi which you mentioned in your article. In Ngwa land and most parts of eastern Nigeria, the palm tree is highly valued. It contributes so much to the rural economy that we call it “Osisi na ami ego” in my dialect, which literally means “the tree that produces money”. Apart from the oil, virtually every part of the tree contributes to rural livelihood. From the palm fronds, we get materials for making baskets and brooms. The tree is tapped for palm wine especially in Enugu State; and many young men in the rural areas earn their living as palm fruit harvesters while many women (married and unmarried) trade on the fruits.

    In my place of origin, many of our prominent sons today, were trained using proceeds from palm trees. Up till today, many community developmental projects are financed using proceeds from the sale of oil palm fruits. In view of any developmental project, the Head of the Village or Community places a ban on individual harvesting of oil palm fruits for a specified period. When it is time for harvesting, individual members of the village or community are mandated to pay a specified amount of money to qualify them to partake in the harvest, which takes place collectively on an agreed date. This was also how they were able to train some of our prominent sons. Even as at today, indigent rural dwellers still pledge their palm trees to others in order to get money to take care of some needs like sending their children to school.

    However, these palm trees are mostly the ones occurring naturally on their pockets of land and not monoculture plantations. Most parts of the eastern Nigeria bear secondary regrowth forests with the oil palm tree being the dominant tree species. The establishment of monoculture plantations usually involves the destruction of the existing vegetation, and this will amount to the felling of the naturally occurring oil palm trees on which the people depend for their livelihood. Land grabbing from rural people to encourage large scale monoculture oil palm plantations will impoverish them the more and cause hardship.

    Imagine the ugly situation you recounted in Abia State, where the Italian Company – Fri El Green Power, plans to go into large scale oil palm business to generate electricity that will be used in Europe; yet Abia State is one of the states of the country mostly affected by erratic and epileptic power supply. We have not talked about the implications of oil palm fruit processing on the local environment. Oil palm fruit processing generates a lot of obnoxious wastes that pollute the environment and make people uncomfortable. The question to ask is: What do the local people stand to gain? If the present call on governments to provide more land for large scale oil palm production yields the desired result probably through land grabbing, the crime wave may go high especially in a volatile state like Abia. Presently, Abia State records the highest number of kidnapping cases in Nigeria. The situation has gone so bad that people are now kidnapped for ransom as low as 30, 000 naira (about 200 US Dollars).

    ANNEX 1:
    Paragraph 2 Line 3: “10 – 20 bundles of ripe fruit from the palm tree are cut and
    gathered”. There is usually no specific number of bunches harvested. All ripe fruits are usually harvested.

    Paragraph 4: The process described here differs a little with what is obtainable in most
    places in Abia State. Here the boiled and pounded seeds together with the fibrous mash are scooped into the cylindrical hollow press for the extraction of oil before the eventual separation of kernel seeds from the fibrous mash.

  2. This palm oil industry has many similarities to other fast-track industries, such as shrimp farming, that operate without sufficient regulation and monitoring. Shrimp farm expansion is still a leading cause of mangrove forest loss around the world..

    One concern we at MAP have is that the oil palm plantations will take over abandoned shrimp farms, thus making it nearly impossible to rehabilitate these important wetlands as mangrove wetlands to help mitigate climate change and restore wild fisheries. Instead further industrialization along the coasts of many mangrove nations is threatening both the mangroves and the local communities that de[end on mangroves for their lives and livelihoods.

  3. David-Leo says:

    This article is quite graceful and well-indepth. I commend the researcher cum writer for a proper job well done. I am a young and vibrant Nigerian with sound ideas/proposal towards a long-term commercialization of oil palm in Kogi state, owing to the fact that, the soil/weather condition is favourable for the merchandization of oil palm production. This is coupled with the fact that, the environment is user friendly. I seek to meet international/local business consortiums or companies with relevant interest to discuss a good way forward.
    I look towards a swift response.
    Thanks.

  4. Pascal Opara says:

    I commend the writer for a well researched piece which highlights, as noted by earlier respondents, the ugly face of globalization, i.e. the clash between international commerce and local socio-cultural practices.
    I too, as an Igbo come from a traditional palm processing community with few mono-cultural estates. I would like to reveal what the cursory researcher may not see easily; oil palm has greatly aided in the industrialization of the SE Nigeria region as most local mechanization employs locally fabricated micro mills – even larger downstream processors [edible vegetable oil, olein exporters and soap manufacturers] employ locally designed and fabricated plant!
    The greatest hindrance to the local industry is actually the dismantling of the commodity boards that sustained Agro extension services and the type of price stability that agricultural subsidies generate in the developed economies!
    Another pressing need is the supply of cheap access to improved seedlings for small holders – these are scarce and expensive since even most government funded schemes have ignored this vital component.
    As to the triple demand impetus of food, cosmetics/detergent and now bio-fuels – I feel that if the small holders are allowed to understand the market rather than multinational-owned plantations then small holder efficiency can be improved and indigenous population antagonism will be minimized.
    Palm is my peoples’ life blood – even more than petroleum which we were aware of and employed long before the multinationals came in to corrupt the society and environment..

  5. ANIEBO VALENTINE says:

    I want to commend the writer of this article,I am a very young Nigerian,a student of the university of ibadan who sees a lot of hope in this sector of agriculture but I am not adequately informed,I need information on how to get improved seeds,get a loan,and the life cycle of an oil palm tree.thank you

  6. I must say this is a dream come true for me because i’ve been looking far articul like these that will inspire me into palm oil production
    I’m an entreprenure that is ready to go into thise area of farming and not letting people from other part of the world coming to utilize what God has given to us freely. We need people who are capable to encourage us who are young and full of energy to take the countary
    to the next level.
    Anthony from cross river state.

    • Anthony

      It is great to know and very inspiring to your fellow young Nigerian. I am an Indian professional and come here as a volunteer in Calabar.I am engage here to contribute in market research on oil palm, so that a small farmer by maintaining their eco-system and continue with the mixed farming system, increase their livelihood and food security.

      I will appreciate and will love if you can contribute in my research by sharing valuable information with me.

      Darshan Parghi
      darshan_parghi@yahoo.com

  7. Francis says:

    Please what is the consumption rate or frequency or per capita consumption of the red palm oil? I need an urgent answer from anyone.

  8. Uyi says:

    I am a student in one of the Nordic countries. I happened to have chosen a bachelor’s thesis topic relating to Nigeria palm oil and a potential Nordic market for Nigeria palm oil. I am somehow stock at the middle of my research at the moment, because of the sustainability constrains in Europe and the current Nigeria production deficit to the local market. I appreciate the effort of the author of this article. This article will be very useful for my research. At some point, I thought there was no possibility of palm oil product export from Nigeria, since Nigeria don’t produce enough to even meet the local demand. I would appreciate if anybody can help me with the names or contacts of Nigeria companies or individuals that export Nigeria oil palm products.

    • Hi Uyi

      I am sorry, not satisfying your requirement. But, I wil appreciate to know if the research is completed? If yes, and if it can be share, would you like to share it.
      I am a volunteer from India and preparing a short market assessment report for the small farmers of Cross River State, Calabar.
      My mail ID is darshan_parghi@yahoo.com

      Darshan Parghi
      India

    • Uzezi says:

      I came acros your article while investigating new leads and potentials that enables increase of my oil exports/general sales.

      I do export and if interested, you can get my contact me on Uzezi@Mokedi.com

      Regards

    • Uzezi says:

      I came acros your article while investigating new leads and potentials that enables increase of my oil exports/general sales.

      I do export and if interested, you can contact me on Uzezi@Mokedi.com

      Regards

  9. AKIN-OJO VICTOR says:

    How I wish Nigeria government can really visit the rural area and help them in palm tree plantation rather than waisting the money on those land that one need to fertilize before it can bring forth fruit. For example in Ekiti I personal can boost of about 2,000 hactre of farm land which i am planing to go into Agriculture with. Let govt. invest on rural farming

  10. Lucky says:

    Please I want to know how many palm oil mills both small and big are in Nigeria.
    Thanks

  11. sele says:

    i am into oil production. where can a find ffb to buy in large quantity. pls. give detailed address within the south-south region.

    • Adebayo says:

      Am into palm oil production as well I have ffb to sell to you if you are really ready to buy I have access to many plantations.

  12. david onayifeke says:

    david work as a manager with presco oil palm plc edo state nigeria for for more ten years now. the article on oil palm in nageria is extensive and well reseached.the only adition is how nigerian government especially state and local can key into this special god given opportunity to better the lives of rural nigerian.the fear of land crisis between the rural populace and the project may be addressed by encouraging outgrower pactices as currently adopted by presco plc.

  13. Emem Akarandut says:

    .whats the availablity of palm in akwa ibom state and Nigeria?
    .what form of power supply would you advice be used to power a 100-150 tonne palm kernel oil mill?
    .who are the majors buyer of this product both local and international and in what quantity?
    .what quantity of palm oil is purchased per year in Nigeria?

  14. Kenneth chibuisi.u says:

    Which state is the largest oil palm producer in nigeria?

  15. It’s quite disheartening that Nigeria once the world leader in Oil Palm production is now a net importer of the produce. I believe It is not the government that should make things right as we’ve all been saying, individuals in Nigeria must sit up and tap into the opportunities these presents.

  16. EKWERE30@GMAIL.COM says:

    I NEED AN ALTERNATIVE PROJECT ON OIL PALM PLANTATION

  17. Okanite says:

    Thanks Anand for your kind advise, i can only say it’s a shame to we Nigerians that someone is coming all the way from Asia to remind us on how we dare need the palm oil industry, it’s a shame again that we as a country have focused much on Petroleum which could have been a supplement to a well developed palm oil industry as the Malaysian and Indonesia had done, The Petronas twin towers was built from the proceeds from a well developed Palm oil industries, what a cursed country called Nigeria!!!!.

    • Chinedu says:

      HI Okanite,
      I understand your frustration in this matter but I dare say that Nigeria is not cursed as you have said. Just saying what you have said can kill motivation and inspiration in an investor’s heart. Be cool, think and act to bring something good into the NIGERIA PROJECT.

      • Okanite says:

        I hear you Chinedu, but it’s long to address all these issues concerning palm oil at home, tell the minister of Agriculture to pay a visit to Adapalm in Ohajiland to see if the federal government can take over it’s management for Christ sake, Rochas Okrocha and his administration is killing this wonderful agric. settlement.

      • Okanite says:

        I hear you Chinedu, but it’s been long for Federal govt. to address all these issues concerning palm oil industry at home, tell the minister of Agriculture to pay a visit to Adapalm in Ohajiland to see if the federal government can take over it’s management for Christ sake, Rochas Okorocha and his administration is killing this wonderful agric. settlement.

  18. Ifeoluwa Virtue says:

    Hello, thanks for the detailed and eye opening information. ℓ am a Nigerian from Ondo state. ℓ believe Ondo state produces a lot øf̲̣̣̣̥ palmoil. ♍y questions are,
    1. Does Ondo state contribute ℓ₪ any way tø †ђё exports øf̲̣̣̣̥ oil palm? 2. what exactly is Ondo states contribution locally?

  19. Chinedu says:

    Hi Ben,
    I may soon need your services. Could you send me your contact details.
    Thank you

  20. lil benny@sexy says:

    i luv nigeria palm oil’s the best,it’s ‘em i like v.much

  21. okechukwu elosiuba says:

    pls what are the tendecies of microbial contamination in nigerian local palm oil production and most likely infections that could occur?

  22. my name is marshal dauda kure from kurmin gwaza district, kachia local government area, kaduna state, north western part of nigeria. says:

    I v more than 2000 trees ready for harvest, i am finding it difficult to source fund for me to establish my oil plant. Advise me on wat 2 do pls. Thank you.

  23. Ádepoju temcrown says:

    This is okay.go ahead

  24. my name is marshal dauda kure from kurmin gwaza district, kachia local government area, kaduna state, north western part of nigeria. says:

    my name is marshal dauda kure from kurmin gwaza district, kachia local government area, kaduna state, north western part of nigeria. I v more than 2000 trees ready for harvest, i am finding it difficult to source fund for me to establish my oil plant. Advise me on wat 2 do pls. Thank you.

  25. diginee chistiana says:

    storage of palm oil in nigeria

  26. Pingback: Palma aceitera en Nigeria: la producción en masa desplaza a pequeños productores y mujeres | WRM

  27. Chidi O. says:

    Wonderfully and nicely compiled. But its such a pity that things that are surposed to be held with high regards in this country are overlooked by our Goverment. As for me i am so willing to invest in this gift giving to us by God most high. And i pray that God will give us leader and take away all these rullers.

  28. Pingback: Oil palm in Nigeria: shifting from smallholders and women to mass production | WRM

  29. osegbowa nosakhare says:

    i am a student in one of the federal polytechnic in Nigeria,i am working on a documentary on palm
    oil in Nigeria,how they are begin produces ( local process )

  30. akinalp says:

    Dear Sirs,

    we have bakery in turkey and we heating our bread oven with hazelnut shell. Furthermore we are also dealing with shells.Now we are looking for alternative resource (PKS) instead of hazelnut shell.

    1. We are ready to use PKS and we got several samples from africa, because the see transport from africa is reduced rate than asia.

    2. First, we would like to buy one of 20 feet container only for testing and promotion. we have the ability to sell 2000 – 4000 tons per month.

    3. we would buy every 3 months..dependent on inquiry

    4. we are end user..

    what we want is, clean, washed..Palm kernel shell. And the best Conditions..Can you help us in this Case

    Best Regards
    Akinalp

    Iskenderun / Turkey

    e-mail: akinalpster@gmail.com
    Mobil: 0534 2591801

  31. Pingback: Le palmier à huile au Nigeria : la production industrielle remplace la production artisanale des agriculteurs et des femmes | WRM Francés

  32. Pingback: O dendezeiro na Nigéria: mudando dos pequenos produtores e mulheres à produção maciça | WRM Portugués

  33. Josephine says:

    Presently, what is the fate of oil palm production commercially to meet global demands there by increasing the GNP of the nation for the sake of good standard of living for the masses.
    More opportunities should be given to nationals in terms of funds, tools and little or more investment or partnering of government in their products to boost the nation’s GDP.
    Thank you.

  34. I love articles that are embedded with facts. Thanks for sharing this Oil Palm processing business ideas. I have already book-marked this page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s