It was shocking to note that Nigeria has been importing palm oil in large quantity to complement local production as no fewer than two vessels with 18,000 metric tons of the commodity was received at the Lagos Port Complex in Apapa recently. The product was valued atN 2.06 billion ($12,905,000). A ton of the commodity is sold at $645.25 in the global market.
The two vessels bearing same name, MT Marida Magnolia were moored few days ago at the Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited with 8,000 and 10,000 metric tons of crude oil respectively.
It was learnt that manufacturing companies in the country in the last three years have spent no fewer than N250 billion to import palm oil due to short supply of the product in the Nigerian markets.
Shipping expert, Dr Zebulon Ikokide, National President of the Nigerian Institute of Freight Forwarding blamed government for the surge in the importation of the commodity.
He noted that it was a misplaced priority for govern-ment to have allowed the country to degenerate to that extent with the large expanse of arable land in the country Ikokide disclosed that only the Imo State Government was trying to revive its palm oil plantation adding that all the soap manufacturing companies had no other option than to import the commodity.
“There is shortage of red palm oil in the country. The soap manufacturing companies don’t have enough that is why they have to result to importation.”
Manufacturing companies such as PZ Cussons, Unilever Plc and other depend on palm oil daily for various productions but it was learnt that the local production cannot sustain them.
Also, it was revealed that producers of noodles, vege-table oil, biscuits, chips, margarines, cereals, baked stuff, washing detergents and cosmetics consumed 90 percent of palm oil being imported, while 10 percent is being used by the non-food sectors.
Between 1950s and 1960s, Nigeria was the largest producer of crude oil palm in the world with a market share of 43per cent. It supplied 645,000metric tons of palm oil across the global market annually.
Oil palm could be produced in commercial quatity in Ondo, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Ogun, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Ebonyi, Imo, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, and Rivers states.—Business Monitor