Kogi State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. David Ape has said the nation should diversify its economy, stressing that continuous dependence on crude oil by the Nigerian government may spell doom for the economy of the country.

Hon. Ape dropped these hints on Monday in Lokoja at one-day stakeholders meeting to promote environmental protection through replacement of worn-out oil palm in low carbon areas organized by Solidaridad West Africa in collaboration with Youth and Women Health Empowerment Project, (YAWHEP), Development and Female Gender Initiative, (DEGENDER), Intellect, and Participation Initiative For Behavioral Change in Development,  (PIBCID).

While the Commissioner stressed that the nation is richly blessed with abundant resources to feed its self and the rest of the world outside crude oil, he lamented that Nigeria is drifting toward a direction which showed that only agriculture will save the nation’s economy from total collapse.

The Commissioner for Agriculture recalled that in the early ’50s to late ’70s, the  Nigeria economy was at its peak through agriculture, stressing that the oil which the government is depending upon now will soon dry up or will lose patronage due to technological development.

Hon. Apeh, therefore, described the workshop as very timely, adding that both the federal and state government are working tirelessly to promote agricultural production in the country.

He stressed further that the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) has put in place some incentives to encourage farmers in agriculture in an attempt to meet the demands of food production and consumption in the country.

In his paper presentation titled:  ‘Effect of Deforestation and Non-replacement of oil palm trees on low carbon areas, the need for sensitization/community response to positive action to environmental protection’, Friday Ogezi, Senior Program Officer, ActionAid  Nigeria stressed the need to build a sustainable ecosystem through best management practices improving conservation and environmental protection.

Ogezi averred that “Environmentalists argue that farming of oil palm tree is terrible for the planet. Palm oil production is said to have been responsible for about 8% of the world’s deforestation between 1990-2008. (This is because of the impact when they are worn out).

” As such, replacement of these trees becomes important to ensure environmental protection, even though technical and challenging for large scale replacement. The need for alternate crops and farming systems that help conserve and promotes afforestation becomes necessary”.

Earlier,  the Managing Partner Intellect Associates A&J LTD Odiba James,  in his welcome address said the effect of climate change in the world calls for concerns, as there is a scarcity of foodstuff in the country and high cost of living because of the drop in production.