Nigeria’s oil palm production is set to rise beyond two million metric tonnes per annum (MMTA) in the next three years.
This is buoyed by the development of specialised fertiliser which may be introduced to farmers next year. The country’s palm oil production stands at less than 1.2MMTA.
Consequently, OCP Fertilisers Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) are working on trials for the specialised fertiliser that will increase production by 40 per cent per hectare, beginning from 2022.
To this end, The Nation learnt researchers at Institute of Agricultural Research and Training(IAR&T) and NIFOR are testing fertiliser formulation at various agro-ecological situations across oil palm production states.
The Country Manager, OCP Fertilisers Nigeria Limited, Mr. Caleb Usoh, said the company, in partnership with NIFOR and IAR&T, conducted a soil mapping survey, to facilitate the development of specialised fertiliser recommendation for oil palm nationwide, so as to address complaints of low yields by farmers.
The Chief Executive, NIFOR, Dr. Celestine Ikuenobe, explained that oil palm output has failed to keep pace with rising demand, so millions of dollars on imports has put a strain on state foreign currency reserves.
Ikuenobe explained that characterising soils of the oil palm belt has helped to determine limiting nutrients based on new fertiliser formulations tested on farmer’s fields in validation trials across the country.
He noted that the soil test- based application of nutrients would help oil palm farmers to realise higher response ratio and, in turn, higher yields.
Head of Agronomy Services & Farmer Centric Projects, OCP Africa Nigeria, Dr. Donald Madukwe, reiterated the commitment of the organisation to work with researchers to introduce specialised fertiliser to change the fortunes of oil palm farmers.
The premise behind an on-farm trial, according to him, is to evaluate production practices under growing conditions.