As part of plans to boost oil palm production in Nigeria, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has flagged off a capacity building programme for four oil palm producing communities in the Ovia South-West Local Government Area in Edo State. The Foremost Development Services Limited, Intermediary Organization (IMO) for the RSPO flagged off the capacity building.
Fatai Afolabi, the Managing Consultant and Chief Executive Officer of Foremost Development Services Limited said the Community Outreach and Engagement Programme (COEP) was to engage stakeholders at all levels of society within palm oil producing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Afolabi said that over 80 smallholder oil palm farmers, elders, youths, women and community-based organisations (CBO) were trained on the principles and criteria of RSPO.
He added that the programme, which was to ensure an equitable playing field for all stakeholders in the palm oil industry, focuses on the three impact goals of Prosperity, People and Planet.
He said the participants were drawn from Madagbayo, Gbelebu, Udo and Maroghionba (AT&P) communities in the Ovia South-West local government area.
“With this training RSPO wishes to educate the communities and other stakeholders in the palm oil supply chain on the standards to adopt for sustainable palm oil production.
“It also wishes to raise the level of awareness of the people on the obligations of the communities and companies producing sustainable palm oil on matters relating to their rights, livelihoods, social and environmental management, protection of communities and employees.
“In all of these, the overall aim of RSPO is to make sustainable palm oil the norm”, he said.
He explained that the choice of Edo State for the COEP was as a result of its being the major producers of sustainable palm oil in Nigeria.
He added that the Edo State Government has also subscribed to the production of sustainable palm oil through the application of the RSPO standards.
He said the state government has also mandated investors through the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) to do the same in order to achieve a palm oil sector that is sustainable.
He further said the capacity building on the RSPO Community Outreach and Engagement Programme will run for 14 months and will involve stakeholders.
Fatai pointed out that the stakeholders include local communities, civil society organizations, smallholder farmers, government agencies, media and oil palm companies.
He also added that the Community Outreach and Engagement Programme will be organized in six oil palm producing local government areas in the state.
He listed the six local government areas to include Ikpoba Okha, Ovia South-West, Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West, Uhunmwonde, Owan West and Orhionmwon.
He stated that between 90 and 120 farmers and other stakeholders will benefit from the capacity building in each of the local government areas.
He said RSPO is a global multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil and not-for-profit international membership organization that unites stakeholders from key sectors of the palm oil industry.
It should be recalled that the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) had on October 25, 2022 during the official launch of the Community Outreach and Engagement Programme in Edo State said it committed the sum of $300,000 into the promotion of sustainable palm oil production in Edo State.