Poor packaging and storage of Nigeria’s extracted palm oil has been responsible for low patronage of the products at the international market.
Assistant Director, Nigeria Export Promotions Council, Uyo Smart Office, Mrs Pauline Ndulaka disclosed this at a capacity building workshop for Palm Produce Sector in Akwa Ibom tagged, “ Best Farming and Processing Practice for Enhanced Produce Yield of Market Competitiveness” held in Uyo on Friday.
Ndulaka, who expressed regrets that, the country has not been able to tap full benefits of its palm produce despite being the forerunner before Malaysia, called for adequate packaging and handling of the product to avoid deterioration.
According to her, “there should be proper packaging and storage of the extracted palm oil to slow down chemical deterioration (rancidity).
‘‘This is relevant because, poor storage has led to sales of palm oil with foul odour in the market and thus lower income”.
She said, improper packaging and storage of the extracted palm oil has led to sales of the produce with foul odour, resulting in low sales and patronage at the markets.
The Assistant Director, however called for the for improved management and best agricultural practices in the palm oil sector, to meet international standards to enhance export noting that, palm oil is a goldmine when fully tapped would boost Nigeria’s economy.
She suggested that, there should be synergy between government, organised private sector and palm produce stakeholders to engender quality production and export of the produce.
Also speaking, the Chairman of NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo charge farmers in Akwa Ibom to form themselves into cooperative societies to access loans and other amenities from governments.
He also advised on the need to purchase quality and healthy seedlings from approved vendors to boost quality and standard of their products both for food and cash crops.
Also, Professor Nyaudo Ndaeyo of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo said, in order to overhaul the oil palm sector, community-based oil palm plantations should be rejuvenated similar to what was obtained during Governor Victor Attah’s
administration from 1999 to 2007.
He further suggested among other things that, since palm is a low land tree crop, which requires about 1, 600 mm amount of water per year, irrigation scheme should be introduced for oil palm plantations.
“There should be gradual replacement of old palm trees by planting new ones. In this case, oil palm trees should be cut down at the age of 35 years. This will give opportunity for its replacement without undue interference with the flow of output of oil palm’’ said, Prof. Ndaeyo.