From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Solidaridad, an international organisation with eight regional expertise centres, has engaged oil palm stakeholders in Cross River State on sustainable oil palm cultivation.
The engagement, which took place during a one-day state multi-stakeholders platform meeting held in Calabar, attracted participants including the traditional rulers Ikom, Bekwarra and Biase local government areas in the state.
Speaking during the engagement, the State MSP coordinator, Dr Otu Ibor, said the focus of the meeting is to bring to the attention of all stakeholders of their responsibilities towards turning around the oil palm economy.
He added that it will also help promote the mitigation of greenhouse gases and promote inclusive access to productive assets for enhanced livelihoods with priorities for women and youths.
He explained that the engagement will also verify and provide evidence of the challenges and risk exposure of smallholder farmers and their oil palm holdings in the Nation Initiative on Sustainable Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholders implementing states, adding that the target of the project is 12,000 smallholder farmers.
Speaking at the end of the MSP sensitization meeting, the acting paramount Ruler of Ikom, HRH Ntoe B. A. Ndoma, said he is so happy with what the NGO is doing to help their farmers.
He said there is a need to synergise with them in the local government area so that our people will maximise the benefit they are giving.
On his part, the paramount ruler of Bekwarra, HRM Odey Linus Obeche, said Solidaridad is touching the local people at home through their intervention in oil palm cultivation, adding that his council is going to encourage the local people there to key in and maximise the benefits inherent in the project.
Also speaking, the paramount ruler of Biase, HRM Onun Apostle Nicholas, said the knowledge gathered from the sensitization will be disseminated to their subjects.
He added that they would deliberate among themselves in Biase and explore how they would benefit from what Solidaridad is doing.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry of Agriculture, Jacob Udida, said the ministry has enjoyed a robust partnership with Solidaridad.
According to him, the state is always ready to partner with them but requested for a larger scope of partnership and intervention in the state in view of its landmass and geography.