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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Nigerian Senate seeks to end importation of palm oil 

ABUJA, (Xinhua) -- The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday said it has voted to end the importation of palm oil and its allied products to save the local palm oil industry.

The move will encourage and favor local farmers, and promote and protect the local production of palm oil, the Senate said.

Deputy president of the Nigerian Senate Ike Ekweremadu said a ban on importation of the commodity would help revive the local palm oil industry and position it properly to play its role as one of the country’s major income earners.

“When the palm oil sector is revived, it will boost employment,” Ekweremadu said.

The continuous importation of the commodity could threaten the government’s campaign on diversification of the economy through increased agricultural production and exports, he said.

Last year, Nigeria imported about 450,000 tons of palm oil, according to official data.

Francis Alimikhena, a senator, said it is regretful that Nigeria, a world leader in palm oil production at independence in the 1960s, has now been overtaken by Indonesia and Malaysia.

“Malaysia is widely believed to have collected its first seedlings from Nigeria some decades ago,” Alimikhena said, noting that the most populous African country now largely imports palm oil from Malaysia.

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