Palm Oil Stakeholders Canvass Traceability System To Boost Investment

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Stakeholders in the oil palm subsector say there is need for a traceability system in the oil palm sub-sector in order to boost investment.

 

The stakeholders, who spoke at a Policy Dialogue on Thursday in Abuja, said with proper implementation of a traceability system in oil palm, local and foreign investors would have confidence in investing in the sub-sector.

 

They said such system would attract huge investments into the country as it would be in compliance with the EU Deforestation Regulation.

 

Kene Onukwube, Programmer Manager, National Initiative for sustainable and Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (N-SCOPS), said Solidaridad and Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) jointly were facilitating the policy dialogue to stimulate and draw the attention of sector actors.

 

He said that currently there was no particular traceability system that most actors complied with; aside the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard that had some sections on traceability.

 

Traceability systems are to help with improving food safety quality for palm oil; it will also enhance the market because inevitably, when the market is improved, so also you will have an enhanced market.

 

“The market system that it enhances will open up better markets for farmers locally and investment opportunities internationally because investors whether local or international will be careful to see that their investments are in compliance with existing standards.

 

“For example, the regulatory framework by the EU is demanding an effective traceability system in place; cocoa has it, but that of oil palm is very weak; the compliance with it is completely not there.’’

 

Onukwube said that 80 per cent smallholder farmers who were involved in the oil palm sector in Nigeria did not know about the traceability system and did not practice it.

 

“So, if you are beginning to check compliance with standard, you are hardly able to determine that this bottle of palm oil with you is from a particular place and has no link with deforestation and that there is an adequate accountability system in place.

“This will make it difficult to know where the palm oil is being produced; it can also trigger some social and governance concerns like child labour and slavery,’’ he said.

 

Abraham Ogwu, Senior Programme Manager, IDH, said there was need trace the palm oil to know where it was coming from and how it was produced or processed.

 

Because of the EU Deforestation Regulation, one of the components is know where the palm oil is coming from.

 

“You must be able to tell us by geolocation polygon mapping and what are the social responsibilities the private sectors or the smallholder farmers producing it are doing in those communities,’’ he said.

 

He said the policy dialogue was to set the pace for the discussion and after which there would be a communique that would be used for advocacy at the government and the private sector level.

 

N-SCOPS is an oil palm project; Solidaridad is implementing it in partnership with IDH.

 

Solidaridad is implementing it in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu and Kogi while IDH is implementing it in Edo.

 

 

 

 

 

NAN/Oyenike Oyeniyi

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