Oil Palm Program: Edo Govt Rallies Investors, Communities on Int’l Best Practices

Oil Palm Program: Edo Govt Rallies Investors, Communities on Int’l Best Practices

In a bid to ensure continuous and effective sustenance of economic projects under the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration, the Edo State Oil Palm Program (ESOPP) in collaboration with one of its investors, Barnsley in conjunction with Proforest have engaged host communities on the need for investors to adhere to the principles and guidelines of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which indicate that every investor must sustain oil palm cultivation by abiding by international best practices.

The community engagements which took place in Idu, Evbuehia, Idumwunowina, Okogbo and Iguere communities, all in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the State saw members of project communities, ESOPP, representatives from Proforest and Barnsley coming together to exchange ideas and opinions and foster healthy relationship that will ensure cooperation amongst the State Government, investors and the various communities through the investment journey.

As an integral part of the RSPO guidelines, project communities and Proforest were asked to identify the specific locations of social, cultural, sentimental and traditional values such as shrines in the communities and also to list out areas of the forest with physical, environmental and ecological importance to them also known as High Conservation Value and High Carbon Stock Approach (HCV/ HCSAs) Assessments.

This activity is carried out in order to sustain the livelihoods of the people and to ensure sustainability, community involvement and also to promote forest conservation in the State.

As part of this exercise, the investors reassured the communities of their commitment to their wellbeing and also guaranteed members of the communities of rapid execution of impactful projects in the various communities.

Proforest commended ESOPP for their support throughout the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process. They noted that Edo State is the only State in Nigeria that plays a key role in supporting investors through the FPIC process, community engagements as well as the HCV/HCSAs assessments, stressing that this is a pattern and initiative worthy of emulation.

• By Ogbebor Tony Ikponmwosa

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