Over 80 oil palm farmers, others benefit from RSPO capacity building in Edo
Idahosa Moses | Benin City
AS part of its plans to boost the palm oil production in Nigeria, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), has flagged off capacity building programme for four palm oil producing communities in the Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State.
The programme was flagged off by the Foremost Development Services Limited, Inter-Mediary Organisation (IMO) for the RSPO.
Addressing the participants, the Managing Consultant and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Foremost Development Services Limited, Fatai Afolabi, said the Community Outreach and Engagement Programme (COEP) was aimed at engaging stakeholders within palm oil producing countries of 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 (PPP).
Afolabi 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,” Afolabi 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 and noted that the Edo State government has also subscribed to the production of sustainable palm oil through the application of the RSPO standards.
Afolabi said the state government has also mandated investors through the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) to do same in order to achieve a palm oil sector that is sustainable.
He further said that the capacity building on the RSPO Community Outreach and Engagement Programme will run for 14 months and will involve stakeholders.
Afolabi pointed out that the stakeholders include local communities, civil society organizations (CSOs), smallholder farmers, government agencies, the media and oil palm companies.
He listed the benefiting five local government areas such as Ikpoba Okha, Ovia South-West, Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West, Uhunmwonde, Owan West and Orhionmwon.
The CEO informed that about 90 to 120 farmers and other stakeholders are expected to benefit from the capacity building in each of the local government area.
RSPO is a global multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil and not-for-profit international membership organisation that unites stakeholders from key sectors of the palm oil industry.
It will be recalled that the RSPO said during the launching of the Community Outreach and Engagement Programme in Edo State on October 25, 2022 that it had committed the sum of $300,000 into the promotion of sustainable palm oil production in the State.
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