An agriculture investor, Mr Leke Oluwatosin, says exploring palm kernel oil processing will boost the sector’s contributions to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Oluwatosin, the Chief Executive Officer of LSX Integrated Agro Processing, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, 26 June 2023 in Lagos.
He also harped on the viability of palm oil and its derivatives value chain in increasing the country’s agriculture revenue.
“The choice of oil palm cultivation is based on the viability and lucrative nature of the produce. In the U.S., it costs more to buy palm oil than any other oil variety.
“The export potential of oil palm, its derivatives and the entire value chain are very essential to everything we use on a daily basis.
“This means that any country that cultivates and produces oil palm will earn more revenue, create jobs and improve the GDP of the country.
“Nigeria used to be an oil palm production and export giant; we need to go back and explore the potential of the sector for the next generation.
“Our investments in the palm kernel oil processing is based on the fact that we are not producing enough of this liquid gold.
“It is disheartening that Nigeria still imports palm oil and some of its derivatives. We still bring it in from Malaysia and Indonesia. It is really an irony,” he told NAN.
Oluwatosin also reiterated the importance of palm oil as essential product in the production cycle of cosmetics and soap companies. He explained that mesocarp (the outer skin) of the oil palm produce red palm oil while the seed inside the kernel produce the palm oil.
“When the seed is crushed, it produces palm oil, and it has so many uses in cosmetics, industrial application, edible oils, soaps and many others.
“Also, from the crushed seed after extracting the oil, we get the palm kernel cake.
“We have so many soap manufacturers who demand palm kernel oil as major component for soap production hence its viability.
“The palm kernel cake is then used primarily in the production of animal feed like poultry, piggery, livestock, etc.
“The palm kernel cake is a great source of protein for the livestock feed,” Oluwatosin said.
He noted that the reason oil palm sector was not living up to its potential was due to challenges in the country like inadequate power supply.
“Some of the machines we are using in processing the palm kernel oil require consistent electricity.
“Due to the inability to harness adequate power supply, most people in oil palm sector would just stop at cultivation and harvesting without adding value to the produce.
“We want to change the narrative by playing a big part in ensuring the value chain of the sector is thriving,’’ he added.
NAN reports that LSX Farms and Integrated Agro-Processing Company is a multi-enterprise agro-business founded in 2019. It focuses on the establishment of oil palm, coconut, and cashew plantations.