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June 21, 2024
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Solidaridad, IDH Launch Phase II of NISCOPS to Promote Sustainable Palm Oil Production, Encourage Climate-smart Practices 

Solidaridad and IDH have launched the second phase of the National Initiative for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) to enhance Nigeria’s palm oil sector while addressing deforestation and promoting climate-smart practices.

The initiative, funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), was officially launched on Tuesday in Abuja.

During the launch, Wouter Plomp, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, welcomed representatives from Edo, Enugu, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Kogi States, as well as delegates from IDH and Solidaridad. “It is an honor to stand before you today as we launch the second phase of the NISCOPS initiative. This is a pivotal step towards sustainable development and climate resilience in the oil palm sector,” Plomp stated.

The first phase of NISCOPS, which ran from 2019 to 2023, was marked by significant achievements. Over 10,000 smallholder farmers were engaged in adopting sustainable and climate-smart agricultural practices, leading to increased productivity and improved livelihoods. Partnerships with state governments facilitated the development of policies that support sustainable palm oil production and protect Nigeria’s valuable crops.

“Palm oil is vital to Nigeria’s economy, providing livelihoods for millions and driving economic growth. However, its expansion has brought environmental challenges, including deforestation. NISCOPS aims to address these challenges by promoting sustainable practices that enhance both economic viability and environmental stewardship. The initiative supports smallholder farmers, helping them comply with international regulations such as the European Union deforestation regulation and the UK policy on deforestation,” Plomp added.

Mr. Kene Onukwube, Country Lead Program Director at Solidaridad, highlighted the successes of the first phase.

He said, “We trained about 14,000 farmers in sustainable agriculture and organized multi-stakeholder platforms across six states. This resulted in increased yields from 3.8 tons per hectare to 115 tons per hectare and contributed to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. The second phase, running from January 2024 to December 2028, aims to consolidate these gains, achieve sustainable oil palm landscapes, and ensure improved incomes for smallholder farmers,” Onukwube explained.

Daan Wensing, CEO of IDH, emphasized the global impact of the initiative. “Today, we launch the second phase of NISCOPS here in Nigeria, focusing on adapting smallholder farmers to a changing climate and ensuring profitable, sustainable palm oil production. This program is not just in Nigeria but also in Ghana, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Colombia. By working across these continents, we learn from different contexts and apply these insights globally,” Wensing noted.

On his part, the Country Director of IDH Nigeria, Mr. Eniola Fabusoro, reiterated the initiative’s focus on sustainable oil palm production, smallholder farmer livelihoods, and private sector engagement.

“The NISCOPS initiative aims to improve land use, protect forests, enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, and ensure private sector engagement,” Fabusoro stated.

Abraham Ogwu, Senior Program Manager at IDH, added that the initiative seeks to improve sector governance for Nigeria’s oil palm landscapes.

Furthermore, the state governments of Edo, Enugu, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Kogi reiterated their commitment to the initiative and pledged their support as they received awards at the event.

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