Governor Gowon Obaseki of Edo State has assured of his administration’s readiness to partner with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) to boost palm crops production in Edo State.
The governor made this disclosure in Benin City on Wednesday when he received the management team of the institute, which paid him a courtesy visit in Government House.
The governor who commended the institute for its commitment and support in ensuring that palm crops production receives a boost in the state, noted that the institute has transformed the agriculture sector.
He expressed the state government’s interest in strengthening the relationship with the institute which aligns with the vision of his government. “We want oil palm to be our own crude oil and therefore, we will partner and work closely with you”.
Obaseki added that the state had identified agriculture as one of the areas it has competitive advantage and assured that everything would be done to optimize and get full value in sectors it has strength.
He revealed that the state would enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the institute to harness its expertise and leverage on its location in the state despite its status as a federal government agency.
He appealed to the institute to help strengthen the capacity of the state College of Agriculture, lguoriakhi as such synergy would help the state government train middle level manpower for palm crop production.
In his remarks, the Acting Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr. Napoleon Aisueni said the institute was prepared to carry out its mandate of ensuring adequate research in the production of oil, coconut, raffia and rate palms and sustain its status as an international center of excellence in crop production, processing and improved technological know-how.
He however said that NIFOR was grappling with infrastructural challenges and appealed to the state government for assistance.