NIGERIA – The government of Nigeria has signed a landmark agreement worth 100 billion naira (US$42.4 million) with Pragmatic Palms Limited, a subsidiary of Diamond Stripes Limited.

According to the agreement, the grant aims to revive the struggling United Palm Products Limited (UPPL), a palm oil processing company administered by the state government.

Peter Mbah, the governor of Enugu State signed the agreement on May 10, underscoring that the opportunity is aimed at boosting its domestic production to meet growing consumption demands.

With this agreement, Pragmatic Palms will temporarily take control of the factory operations. Today, we signed the UPPL operating contract,” said Adaora Chukwu, the state’s Commissioner for Commerce, Investment and Industry.

On his part, George Nwangwu, general manager of Pragmatic Palms added that UPPL is capable of giving a fillip to the economic transformation of Enugu State.

We are going to install a lot of equipment there to boost its capacity for processing palm oil and derived products such as palm kernel oil,” he said.

According to official data, UPPL encompasses three palm plantations covering approximately 7,400 hectares across Oji River, Uzo Uwani, and Ezeagu local government areas.

The processing boost comes at a time when the Edo State government is actively seeking investment to develop palm groves on 47,000 hectares.

This initiative was announced by Governor Godwin Obaseki on May 7, ahead of the launch of the second phase of the Edo State Oil Palm Program (ESOPP) set for June.

According to him, although Nigeria is Africa’s leading producer of crude palm oil, the country still depends 20% on imports for its palm oil needs.

This situation offers opportunities for investment, particularly private investment, to exploit the potential available to the sector and respond to growing consumption.   

The ESOPP, which started in 2019, has already facilitated the planting of over 70,000 hectares of oil palm, attracting investments totaling US$500 million.

 “Our program does not concern the acquisition of land, but consists of encouraging investments in the installation and operation of palm groves and helping investors reduce the risks associated with it,” clarified Governor Obaseki.

This initiative is expected to further solidify Edo State’s position as Nigeria’s main supplier of palm oil, contributing about 12% of the national supply.

Crude palm oil production in Nigeria is projected to reach 1.6 million tonnes in the 2024/2025 period, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The area under oil palm cultivation in the country spans over 3.2 million hectares, indicating substantial potential for further growth and development in the sector.

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