The Federal Government has been called upon to properly fund the Nigeria Institute of Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) to enable it effectively carry out its statutory role of research documentation.
The call was made Tuesday by the Association of Plantation Owners Forum of Nigeria (POFON), which also advised the government to allow the private sector take over from NIFOR the aspect of feed production to allow it concentrate more on research findings.
POFON Chairman, Muyi Ladoja, who stated this while briefing journalists after the association's meeting in Benin City, the Edo State Capital Tuesday, said the call became necessary because of NIFOR's role in the palm oil industry.
"We call on government to properly support NIFOR through adequate release of funds. But POFON, however, believes that NIFOR should concentrate more on its statutory role of research while it allows the private sector take over the aspect of feed production.
"There is no doubt that we are faced with the challenge of the availability of good and desirable quality of seedlings," he said.
The oil palm growers also called for a coordinated collaborative effort to know how many oil palm plantations are available in the country "for the purpose of planning."
The forum pleaded with government to make fertiliser available for small holders and maintained that it was not against the importation of oil palm into the country.
It urged government to assist in the improvement of existing infrastructure to help improve the sector.
POFON also denied speculation that there was likely going to be scarcity of oil palm in the country in the near future, saying that POFON members were capable of producing enough quantity including the imported products to serve consumers.
It also called for the approval of a special fund for the development of the palm oil sector as it urged stakeholders like the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Investment to undertake a duty tour "to appreciate what is on ground."
While the association called for proper government policy that would factor into the operations of small holders and ways to assist them improve on their yields, it also frowned at the increasing level of adulteration of palm oil in the country but insisted that the quality of oil being produced by POFON members were still of high quality.