Avoagro

Why Palm Oil

Why We do What We Do

Palm oil is the most versatile vegetable oil crop in the world, used in over 50 percent of packaged consumer food products, more critically, it is a key food ingredient across Africa. Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world with ideal conditions to cultivate palm oil.  Prior to 1965, Nigeria was the world’s leading producer of palm oil accounting for 43% of the world’s production.  Today, however, Nigeria only accounts for 2% of global production and has to import palm oil to meet both its consumer and commercial market demands. The sector is dominated by millions of poor, smallholder farmers who are reliant on the inferior dura variety palm oil, harvested in the wild which typically yields low amounts of palm oil. These farmers lack access to funding, knowledge, and the market services to cultivate the better quality tenera hybrid. As a result of our lack of investment in this sector, we do not make enough oil to meet our domestic needs. The Nigerian Institute for Palm Oil Research (NIFOR) estimates Nigeria’s current production of palm oil at 980,000 tonnes a year while demand is an estimated 2.4 million tonnes, leaving a deficit of 900,000 tonnes worth about $800 million.

 

Importing this much palm oil is a missed opportunity for Nigeria to improve the livelihoods of smallholder palm oil farmers and boost the country’s revenues. 

Our Story

Avo Agro is based in Akwa Ibom, a state in the heart of what is known as the palm oil belt. Palm trees are in abundance and yet despite the fact that this commodity has positively transformed the economies of countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, the palm oil farmers in Akwa Ibom are desperately poor. Inspired by these sobering facts, we decided to jump head first into being part of the solution.

We travelled the state talking meeting with leaders and farmers, before finally settling on land in Ibiono Ibom local government area.

We have connected with a number of development agencies, including the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta PIND, Market Development for the Niger Delta MADE Niger Delta, and SHERDA. These partners have been working closely with Avo Agro in conducting trainings for smallholders in Ibiono Ibom, providing them with knowledge and access to information on improving farming practices, harvesting techniques and cultivating quality seedlings.

 

Avo Agro is simultaneously seeking profits and improvement in the prospects for small-holders through education and training. In the long-term, we will seek RSPO certification for our small-holder suppliers and our soon to be constructed mill and otherwise observe best sustainable practice including gender equality.

 

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