Business alignments and re-alignments have been identified as possible ways countries can address the present-day global post-pandemic supply chain challenge and or trade deficits.
Stakeholders are saying to the governments of Malaysia and Nigeria, and industry players to prepare to meet the rising demands of palm oil particularly in Africa.
They are saying ‘take a position now’, ‘get hold of business advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’. This is the message conveyed by industry experts from the recent palm oil dialogue at the Radisson Blu Victoria Island Lagos.
The hybrid dialogue organised by The Malaysian High Commissioner Abuja and Malaysia External Trade Office Lagos and co-organized by MPOB, MPOC, and NMBC established high-Level discussions between Nigeria and Malaysia favourably motivated with keynote addresses by the Nigeria High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur, Hajara Ibrahim Salim, and her counterpart, the Malaysian High Commissioner in Abuja, Gloria Peter Tiwet.
The Forum received a good response and was attended by the palm oil players from both countries, including POFON, Malaysia Palm Oil Associations, and Sime Darby.
The dialogue had many objectives, chief of which was for Nigeria and Malaysian governments to engage in high-level negotiations that will provide robust information on how to work together and ways to foster strategy for future, durable and sustainable term trade relationship.
One other objective was an open-door strategy to engage Malaysian partners in Nigeria’s palm oil industry value chain development. This dialogue approach is an engagement procedure for targeted Malaysian investors to build business relationship with support by Nigeria-Malaysia Trade Corridor (NMTC) which was established in 2018. The dialogue was based on the fact that palm oil plantation and production value chain is viewed as a poverty-reduction scheme and a growth engine for developing economies by the producing nations
Another important point is to start a discussion on and one of the most fascinating and challenging factors of our trade relationship between both countries, i.e trade deficits versus surplus, location of trade production versus location of ready for market.
“If we consider that Nigeria is the largest consumer of palm oil in Africa; a large percentage of palm oil trade comes from Malaysia and Indonesia through the neighboring countries into the country. Thus, this dialogue creates a pathway to promote sustainable trade and investment in the palm oil sector between Nigeria and Malaysia. In Malaysia where worldwide demand for palm oil has lifted incomes especially in rural areas, there is surplus production and due to shortages of land, there is a great opportunity in Nigeria when seeking plantation land outside the country. On the other hand, palm oil continues to be high demand in Nigeria, and price per tonne is close one million Naira,” Michael Aderohunmu, president Nigeria-Malaysia Business Council, said.
It is notable to highlight that this dialogue actually provided useful information among the players of both countries on how to open more windows for a sustainable Palm Oil, Trade and Investment relationship between Nigeria and Malaysia that will possibly lead to the strategic partnership; design framework for an official agreement with Malaysia, which could come with investment (in Plantation and Refinery), technology information sharing and technical know-how.
“This dialogue is the first attempt to galvanize economic diplomacy to move for economic cooperation and build capacities to accommodate possible handshake with our Malaysians counterparts, through Palm Oil Industry. It, therefore, implies that Nigeria needs to aggregate its growth potential in the palm oil sector and become a steady supply hub for African nations,” he further said.