As a boost to the confidence of both investors and local stakeholders in the oil palm sector in Edo State, the State government has partnered with stakeholders to develop a document called Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) which they intend for pass into law by the State house of Assembly.
FPIC is a specific right that pertains to indigenous peoples and is recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) – For more on FPIC.
In a statement made available to the NIPC Press Team, the acting Team Lead of the Edo State Oil Palm Implementation Office, Mr Churchill Oboh, stated that the FPIC document is being transformed into a bill to be passed into law in Edo State so that it could serve as a guideline for investors to engage communities and government actors in harmonising protocols to ensure the success of legitimate investments in the State.
He made this known at the end of a one-day stakeholders meeting held in Benin, the Edo State capital, to validate the (FPIC) documents.
Mr Oboh explained, “The law would boost the confidence of investors and communities to ensure that they know what it requires to secure investment in the State.”
The stakeholders partnering with the Edo State government to develop FPIC include the Africa Palm Oil Initiative (APOI) and Proforest. APOI is a coalition of 10 palm-oil-producing countries (including Nigeria) that engage stakeholders in the palm oil sector of partner countries to ensure that the sector develops in a way that is environmentally and socially sustainable, whilst bringing economic benefits to the region. Also, Proforest, a not-for-profit organisation with a global presence is focused on sustainable production and sourcing of agricultural commodities such as oil palm in partner countries.
According to the United Nations, FPIC allows indigenous people to give or withhold consent to a project that may affect them or their territories. Once they have given their consent, they can withdraw it at any stage. Furthermore, FPIC enables them to negotiate the conditions under which the project will be designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated which is also embedded within the universal right to self-determination.
Reacting to the development, Managing Director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Kelvin Uwaibi said the stakeholder engagement is necessary to create harmonization between communities, government, and investors to ensure economic development in Edo State.
“We really want to have a situation where the communities, local and state governments will work in harmony, as stipulated in the FPIC documents,” he said.
Oil Palm Investments & Government Support to Investors in Edo State
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has monitored agribusiness investments in Edo State, particularly how private capital and government support to oil palm investments has driven economic development in the State.
In NIPC’s Book of States, Edo State Government listed “having the highest oil palm yields in Nigeria,” as one of its comparative advantages. (NIPC’s Book of States captures the comparative advantages and key investment opportunities being promoted by each of Nigeria’s 36 States and FCT in an easily accessible format.)
Also, Edo State is home to Okomu Oil Palm and Presco PLC, the largest oil palm companies in the country. Other oil palm investors in the State include Dufil Prima, Agroallied Resources Limited, Agripalm Limited, Saturn Farms Limited, Saro Oil Palm, Fayus Nigeria Limited and Farm Forte Agro Allied Limited.
In 2020, NIPC reported that Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki approved the allocation of over 40,000 hectares of land to six firms for oil palm cultivation
It was also reported that the State government is reviving the Urhonigbe oil palm belt with N91.3bn
In 2019, NIPC also reported the launch of the N69 billion Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) between Edo State and the Central Bank of Nigeria
Just recently, Governor Obaseki and 7 oil palm investors signed a 100 billion pact under ESOPP.
Also, under ESOP, the State government has granted digital C of Os to a number of oil palm investors in the State, including Dufil Prima and Agripalm, on the back of the government’s agricultural reforms and commitment to drive growth in the sector –