The Managing Director, JEKON Integrated Farms Nigeria Ltd., Mr. Godswealth Henry, stated that the Nigerian palm oil is the cheapest in the international market because Nigeria exports low-quality palm oil.
Henry, in a recent interview in Lagos explained that the palm oil produced in Nigeria was not readily accepted in the international market due to its quality and full of cholesterol.
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.”
Henry 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.
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.
He further explained that JEFKON integrated farms Ltd. had been lucky to acquire such equipment to remove fatty acids from red oil. This, he said, had discouraged oil palm farmers from exporting palm oil.
He emphasised that the equipment to remove the fatty acids requires huge capital outlay which farmers cannot afford.
Henry emphasised on the need for oil palm farmers to be assisted from the tiers of government through intervention fund for such capital-intensive project.
“Oil palm farmers need assistance to be able to produce oil to feed the local markets and export to earn foreign exchange for the country”, he added.
The managing director said the equipment was capable of producing 250 drums of high-quality palm oil daily.
He, however, said that about 99% of raw materials for the production of palm oil were still being sourced from Cross River.