Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has reiterated his administration’s focus on integrating palm oil production with forest management.
He noted that he would use integrated Land Use planning to systematically support better production of oil palm and conserve land in the state.
Obaseki stated this at the recently concluded United Nations climate change summit, also known as Conference of the Parties (COP26) held at the SEC Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.
The governor, who was the only sub-national leader /state governor from Nigeria to address the COP Summit on curbing greenhouse gas emissions in Nigeria through diversification of the economy to regulated oil palm production, told world leaders that his administration has made remarkable progress in the sustainable development of oil palm in the state.
According to him, “We have focused our efforts on the importance of integrating palm oil production with forest management, using integrated land use planning to systematically support better production of oil palm and land conservation.”
Obaseki explained to the audience that in pursuit of forest protection, a forest cover analysis was carried out in 2018 by his administration.
Furthermore, he said significant measures have been put in place, including the land use planning and a product-protect-rehabilitate programme to ensure that oil palm production in particular, contributes to the restoration of degraded forest reserves in the state.
The governor added that the Edo Geographic Information Service (Edo-GIS), a new agency he created to manage land data and usage, will be involved in the process as well as the proposed forestry commission which will be responsible for managing forests and restoring degraded forest reserves.
He maintained that his administration has made it mandatory for palm oil companies to integrate smallholder development within the framework of planned and sustainable oil palm expansion.
Obaseki said: “We have made adhering to the requirements of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the APOI principles and actions the norm for palm oil production in the state.
“All palm oil companies operating in Edo State are required to be RSPO members and to comply with the RSPO requirements. We have set up the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) which is working with the APOI platform and private sector companies to ensure this commitment is delivered.
“Moreover, through a consultative process, we have developed guidelines in Edo State for ensuring that there is Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) from indigenous people and local communities before agricultural development takes place.”
The climate change conference which was held from October 31 to November 13, 2021, had in attendance world leaders, pro-environmental protection advocacy groups among other dignitaries.