By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Rector of Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, Professor Abiodun Falodun, said the institution has commenced oil palm milling and has set modalities for the development of a palm plantation to promote enterprise and research.
Speaking to journalists on the development at the milling facility in the school premises, in Ovia South-west Local Government Area of the state, Falodun said the polytechnic wants to revolutionise the idea of tertiary institutions as solution centres, adding that the move is to align with the state governor’s charge to institutions to become innovative in service delivery,
“With the support of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), we have set up the oil milling plant in the school. We intend to mop up the oil palm harvest from smallholder farmers in the community and mill them here to produce palm oil and other by-products.”
According to him, the institution has designed a roadmap to developing a plantation that would serve as source of raw material for the facility, adding that the seedlings are going to be sourced from the Nigeria Institute of Oil Palm Research (NIFOR).
“I am delighted that we have set up this facility. We are going to commence the development of a palm plantation within the school which will service the oil milling plant. But at the moment, we intend to mop up what we can from smallholders in the community and environs.
“Our grand plan is to have more than one processing centres within the school that will be producing finished goods from the different crops grown in the community. Aside the oil palm, we also intend to build one for yam and banana processing. The students will play active roles in the development of the plantation as it would form part of their entrepreneurial studies.
“The processing centres will not only serve as enterprises, but the school will also use them as research stations, to develop new products and allied products from the different crops that we grow in Usen community,” Falodun added.
He said some of the departments that will be involved in the research activities are those in the School of Engineering; Food Science and Technology, among others.