In order to achieve best farm management practices in oil palm production and the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) for proper field mapping and documentation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources has organised a one day workshop for agriculture officers, nursery managers and extension officers in the state.
Hon. Egbedi while addressing the participants said, “It is sad to note that in Delta State yield per hectare of oil palm is far below 10 metric tonnes per hectare. This is because our farmers have over time failed to adopt best management practices to enable their palm plantations perform optimally.
“There is therefore the need to educate these farmers on the best management practices to ensure that their palm plantations yield optimally. This will increase to fresh fruit bunches harvested this will in turn increase the farmers’ income,” Egbedi stated.
The agriculture commissioner, who was elated at the one day training-the-trainers workshop stated that the training is also aimed at achieving optimal yield of the oil palm trees, said that best practices begin with good nursery management to ensure that viable, strong and efficient oil palm seedlings are planted.
He revealed that in order to ensure increase oil palm production in the stated, the state government has increase the number of oil palm nurseries in the state to three located at Ejeme-Unor, in Aniocha South, Oleh in Isoko South and Arhagba-Okpe in Okpe Local Government Areas respectively for the three Senatorial Districts.
Hon. Egbedi also stated that the use of the GPS for mapping farmers’ farms would enable the state to have accurate data on oil palm holdings in the state.
Also speaking, the Tree Crop Director, Delta State Agriculture and Rural Development Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Ernest Otunkor, stated that before now had about 778 small oil palm holder farmers but toady the state government has increased it by about 1,953 through the provision of inputs to small holder oil palm farmers.
He urged the trainee trainers, to use the training to build their capacity for effective technical and extension service delivery in the state.
One of the facilitators, Mr Njoku Prince, who said that the training was to strengthen the capacity of the participants, said, “The participants were targeted because they are closer to the farmers, they work hand in hand with the oil palm holders and would help the farmers on how best to manage their farms for optimal yield in the state.”
According to Mr Njoku Prince, who stated that over 70 participants were drawn from the three senatorial district of the state for the training, said that some of the constraint in nursery management was the situation were farmers resort to using old seedlings from their existing farms for nursery, saying that such practices hindered optimal oil palm yield.
He urged the trainees to go back to their various local government areas to transfer the knowledge they have received to advise oil palm holders on the best practices in oil palm nursery management.
One of the participants, an Assistant Chief Agriculture Officer, Mr Frank Okolotu, thanked the state government for the opportunity to attend such training, saying that it would cascade into increase of oil palm yield in the state.
Present at the workshop were the SSA to the Governor on Agriculture, Hon. Aneke Ifemeni, Chairman Delta State Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (DARDA), Dr Emmanuel Tibi, the Director, Planning Research and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mrs Stella Egedi, the Programme Manager, DARDA, Mr Ben Agama, DPRS, among others.