The Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and New Energy Limited (NNEL) have conducted an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the proposed Oil Palm to Biodiesel Project in Akamkpa and Biase local government areas of Cross River State.
An independent panel which reviewed the exercise in Calabar last week said that the project is aimed at turning palm oil into biodiesel for commercial purposes.
Commissioner for agriculture and irrigation, Johnson Ebokpo, who disclosed this, said that the project was in collaboration with the state government.
He commended the state governor for commencing a state wide digital soil mapping exercise as a fundamental approach to maximum crop production and success of the project.
Expressing his excitement over the proposed NNPCL Project, Ebokpo hinted that it will count as the second major commercial agricultural activity in the state.
He disclosed that the first of such agric activities is the successful facilitation of the Ayip-Eku Oil Palm Plantations of about 12,000 hectares in Akamkpa Local Government Area.
He said engagements with the host communities have been made and development is ongoing at the plantations.
He lauded the NNPC for taking the lead in delivering renewable energy using biofuels derived from palm oil, remarking that it demonstrates their goal of “Energy for Today, Energy for Tomorrow”.
He advised that framework development processes for the implementation of the project be transparent to avoid conflict between host communities.
The commissioner went further to advise the company to carry out its mandate effectively and perform its Corporate Social Responsibilities towards host communities.
He also urged communities to support the project as industrialisation comes with enormous benefits such as job creation, livelihood improvements, amongst others.
He disclosed that the state is planning on developing an oil palm value chain policy, noting that key stakeholders in the sector would be called upon to drive the process.
He called on prospective investors in the agricultural space to take advantage of the state’s readiness as agriculture is a sustainable and profitable venture.
The NNPC team was led by the Manager, Renewable Energy, NNPCL, Abuja, Mr Raji Kabiru.
Kabiru gave an update on the project and discussed other possible areas for collaborations with the state.