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Oil Palm Cultivation: Experts Warn Against Depletion Of Cross River Forest Reserves

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June 23, (THEWILL) – Solidaridad West Africa, a solution oriented Civil Society organisation, in Cross River, has warned against depletion of the state’s forest reserves to expand oil palm production.

Rather, oil palm farmers in the state can still increase their production capacity without necessarily tampering with the state’s forest reserve by the adoption of Best Management Practices.

Programme Manager, Oil Palm Country Management Lead, Solidaridad Nigeria, Mr Kenechukwu Onukwube, disclosed this in Calabar during a multi stakeholders capacity building workshop.

Mr Onukwube was represented by Ernest Ita, the senior Programme Officer, who spoke on the topic, “Reclaiming Sustainability In Nigeria.”

“We can still do oil palm without necessarily getting the rainforest depleted. This is achievable through adoption of best management practices.

“We discourage farmers from pulling and cutting down remnants of Cross River State forest, which is left just because they want to cultivate oil palm.

“We have taught them best management practices, which, if applied, can improve their yield.

“We advocate for intensification over expansion, because of the attendant danger of deforestation.

“Climate change comes with disrupted patterns and unpredicted rainfall in frequency distribution. This to some extent, affects the soil moisture availability”, Onukwube maintained.

He also advocated for use of degraded forest area for cultivation of improved variety of oil palm, rather than outright cutting down of trees to regenerate or expand palm oil plantations.

Earlier, Jacob Udida, the permanent secretary, Cross River State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, charged oil palm farmers to sit up, tap from what is learnt and put it into practice.

He thanked Solidaridad West Africa for showing robust interest in the state’s oil palm development.

He pledged that the state will continue to partner with Solidaridad to get the answers they need in the oil palm sector.