RSPO kicks off  14-month capacity building programme for farmers 

By Chinyere Anyanwu                         

Farmers in four oil palm producing communities in Edo State have begun a 14-month capacity building programme under the sponsorship of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a global agricultural facilitation organisation.

Managing Consultant and Chief Executive Officer, Foremost Development Services Ltd., an intermediary organisation for RSPO, Mr. Fatai Afolabi, kicked off the programme in Benin at the weekend.

He said the selected farmers were youths, women, elders, including community-based organisations drawn from Madagbayo, Gbelebu, Udo and Maroghionba communities in Ovia Southwest Local Government.

Afolabi said the training was a Community Outreach and Engagement Programme (COEP) targeted at stakeholders within the oil palm producing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He said the programme would take place in six oil palm producing local governments in the state, listing the benefitting councils to include Ikpoba Okha, Ovia Southwest, Ovia Northeast, Uhunmwonde, Owan West and Orhionmwon.

The consultant said between 90 and 120 farmers as well as other stakeholders would benefit from the capacity building in each of the local governments.

He noted that the programme was designed to ensure equitable level playing field for stakeholders in the oil palm industry.

“The programme will focus on three impact goals of Prosperity, People and Planet. With this training, RSPO wishes to educate the communities and other stakeholders in the oil palm value chain on the standards to adopt for sustainable palm oil production.

“It also wishes to raise the level of awareness of the people on the obligations of the communities and companies producing sustainable palm oil. Also, on matters relating to their rights, livelihoods, social and environmental management, protection of communities and employees,” he said.

The managing consultant said the overall aim of RSPO was to make sustainable palm oil the norm, adding that the organisation chose Edo for the COEP  because of its status as a major producer of sustainable palm oil in Nigeria. He said RSPO was a global multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil and non-profitable international membership organisation that united stakeholders from the palm oil sector.

In October 2022, during the official launch of the programme in Edo, RSPO said it had committed $300,000 into the promotion of sustainable palm oil production in the state.

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