The Managing Director, JEKON Integrated Farms Nig. Ltd., Godswealth Henry, says Nigerian palm oil is the cheapest in the international market because Nigeria exports low-quality palm oil.
Henry said in Lagos on Thursday that the palm oil produced in Nigeria was not readily accepted in the international market due to its quality.
According to him, the Nigerian palm oil is full of cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance made by the liver and distributed throughout the body. It allows our bodies to make vitamin D and hormones and makes up bile acids.
High cholesterol in the blood can interfere with blood flow throughout the body and high cholesterol means you have a lot more cholesterol in your blood than you need.
He said, “The palm oil being produced and marketed in Nigeria contain concentrated fatty acids.
“Nigeria’s palm oil does not meet the international requirements and when it is exported, you discover that they are cheaper while those that meet the international standard are very expensive.”
This, he said, had discouraged oil palm farmers from exporting palm oil.
According to him, the equipment to remove the fatty acids requires huge capital outlay which farmers cannot afford.
Henry said oil palm farmers needed assistance from the tiers of government through intervention fund for such capital-intensive project.
He said, “Such project can be sited in a locality where farmers can easily have access to them as well as those interested in exporting palm oil to remove the fatty acids.’’
He said oil palm farmers needed assistance to be able to produce oil to feed the local markets and export to earn foreign exchange for the country.
Henry said JEFKON integrated farms Ltd. had been lucky to acquire such equipment to remove fatty acids from red oil.
According to him, the dearth of oil palm fruit, especially during its lean season has made it impossible to procure palm fruits in commercial quantity to feed and satisfy supply needs of customers.
The managing director said the equipment was capable of producing 250 drums of high-quality palm oil daily.
“However, because of the scarcity of palm fruits, the company hardly gets 10 tonnes or 50 drums of palm oil in a week.
Henry said that about 99 percent of raw materials for the production of palm oil were still being sourced from Cross River.
He attributed the low production of palm oil to poor maintenance of the Okpara Oil Palm Plantations in Cross River, and non-establishment of new palm plantations since the 1960s.
Henry said that governments should resuscitate the palm plantations in the country to demonstrate they are serious about diversification of the economy.
The European Union suspended some agricultural food exports from Nigeria which include palm oil in 2016 due to its low quality.