The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state is growing the largest oil palm project in Africa as part of efforts to tap from its natural endowments and decouple from the oil economy in its economic diversification drive.
The governor made this disclosure at the 2022 Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Conference, tagged ‘Bold Transitions,’ held in Lagos State.
Obaseki made a case for investment in human capital, noting that it is the people that can drive growth in services required to navigate energy transitions and revenue shortfalls.
Sharing his experiences in driving change in Edo State, Obaseki said: “The bulk of the relative growth we have recorded in Edo has come from services like agriculture, industrialization and technology. These are driven by human activity. To grow, we need to invest in the people.”
He noted that it was necessary to invest in education and restructure its systems so that “we can train our people to be productive.”
On the strides in the agricultural sector, he said, “We have the largest oil palm programme on the continent. About 120, 000 hectares have been earmarked for oil palm cultivation and investors are already growing nurseries for 70,000 hectares.”
The governor said the state is focused on nurturing its natural endowments to achieve economic prosperity with a focus on developing its oil palm, rubber and timber assets.
The governor said the state is also addressing issues of deforestation, noting “70 percent of the state’s forest had been deforested. As we are growing oil palm, we are ensuring that the forest is regenerated.
“We are promoting legislation to tackle issues of deforestation. In fact, we have a law that ensures that before you cut down a forest, you would need legislative backing.”