Malaysia never took oil palm seed from Nigeria – Dr. Okwuagwu


There has been notion among Nigerians that Malaysia came to Nigeria some years ago to get seedlings for oil palm which has placed the country as number one oil palm producing country while Nigeria lags behind in ranking.
But this assertion was debunked recently by crop scientists when some select journalists, fellows of the Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA,) were in the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR).
JIMOH BABATUNDE captured the presentations of Dr. (Mrs.) Christy Okwuagwu, the most senior crop scientist at the institute.
Here is an excerpt.
On how Malaysia got its oil palm seeds
Malaysia has overtaken Nigeria in palm oil production.  I want you to see the well documented origin of the very original planting materials for oil palm in Malaysia.
The earliest record of palm into Far East Asia was four seedlings planted in a botanical garden in 1848 in java in the Dutch East Indies.
Two of these were from Amsterdam botanical garden, but it is not known how they originated, the other from Bogo or Mauritius in Indian Ocean. The palm that sprang from these four seedlings was all quite similar and they were supposed originally produced from Amsterdam through some African unknown origin.
These four seedlings formed the entire source of the planting materials in Malaysia and that we say the entire population of planting materials in Malaysia have a very narrow genetic base. We don’t normally entirely depend on them for breeding and development. Actually it is necessary they depend on us and subsequent materials to improve their planting materials.
The original materials never came from Africa, never came from Nigeria. They were from Dutch expedition of the early 19th century and because they discovered that the crops had economic advantage in their land they started multiplying these seedlings and raising them as plantation crops. They don’t have natural populations. This is the source of everything in south East Asia.

So, there is no way to assume that Malaysia came to Nigeria and got planting materials and now they have over taken us. They never did. People say this carelessly but they did not. I know you are journalists, this is one of the basic information I want you to debunk in every situation, because we know truly that it is true the Dutch expedition that the Malaysians had these planting materials in the 19th century.

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