NIFOR Goes Into Partnership with Private Firm

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The Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a privately owned palm-producing firm, Luscel Investment Limited, based in Edo state, to host the Institute’s Extension Works Seed (EWS) fields.

According to the agreement, the planting materials for the fields of 40 hectares will be supplied free of charge to the farm while the company will be in charge of the planting, maintenance and harvesting of the field under the supervision of NIFOR technical personnel.

The Executive Director of the institute, Dr. Celestine Ikuenobe, who was represented by the Director, Research, Technology and Product Development Department, Dr Isona Gold, Ikuenobe, regrets the fall in the standard of operation of NIFOR due to human activities but is hopeful that this partnership will help correct that, adding that NIFOR remained the number one palm research institute in Africa.

He said “In the past, it was a taboo to be seen around Plant Breeding and Agronomy fields but over time the scientific culture of the institute has eroded and has resulted in disrespect for science. In some cases, the staff of the Institute don’t understand the reason for our experimental fields and look upon the fields as places to steal bunches and seedlings with little effect on the Institute’s potential cash flow; without knowing the negative impact of such activities on the relevance of NIFOR in the global scientific community. The consequence is that many years later, we do not have reliable yield records from our fields to market our products.

“This is where our competitors beat us, because they are able to control such occurrences in their locations and sometimes adopt shoot-at-sight methods to achieve strict compliance with “out-of-bound” rules. We have locally recorded cases where NIFOR staff cultivates cassava in Plant breeding and Agronomy fields and sets the field on fire during land preparation. In the process, 5-7 years of work is destroyed and the work has to be repeated.

“In addressing this challenge, the Institute is seeking collaboration with private estates and adopting stricter measures to curb sabotage within its system. One of such collaboration is the reason we are here today.”

The Managing Director of the farm, Oluseyi Adeleke said the agreement will last for 20 years and that this collaboration with NIFOR has improved and increased the productivity in his farm. He said “With our collaboration, we did not spend so much for land acquisition; they (NIFOR) guided me in the financial figures.

“There will be challenges but we have been able to overcome them because their material is very resilient; they can survive harsh weather conditions. In our first experiment, we did not harvest on time not deliberately though, but that was how we discovered the resilience of their plants. Major oil producers came to check, and today they off-take from our farms.

“We are going to host their research outpost in our farm; about 40 hectares and we will be copying what the researchers are doing and replicating it in the main farm, and we hope that when we look back in about 5 to 7 years we would have been able to become more commercially viable. The agreement is for 20 years.

“I have been around here for 12 years and I will say that Edo state has the local understanding about what you require to do commercial farming. In other places, the land required will be issues but Edo state will support you. We are eight kilometres away from everywhere. In other places that will become a problem but in Edo we have not had any problems. Our host community, the elders and the youths have been cooperating with us. We thank the current governor. When he was the Special Adviser to the Comrade Governor, we also met him then.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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