Stakeholders in Lagos State’s Coconut value chain have called on the Nigeria Institute for Oil-Palm Research (NIFOR) and other similar institutes to conduct continuous research and development on improved varieties of coconut with a lesser gestation period.
This was part of the resolutions made by stakeholders at the end of a one-day Coconut Value Chain Stakeholders Forum organised by the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), with the theme “Addressing the Bottlenecks in the Coconut Value Chain to ensure Sustainable Development in a 21st Century Economy”, and held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Conference and Exhibition Centre in Lagos on Tuesday.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, speaking after the forum, said the stakeholders discussed several issues relating to unleashing the potentials of the coconut value chain, which includes low production and old plantation.
She explained that 19-point resolutions emanating from the forum include the need to encourage intercropping with other arable crops such as pineapple, cotton, maize and soya beans to ensure quick returns and the need to rebrand Coconut in order to attract youths to the Value Chain.
Others, according to her, dwelt on “Providing an enabling environment for Public-Private Partnership with the private sector and other individuals; Encouraging the planting of Coconut trees in our homes and environment and Establishment of tissue culture lab for growing viable planting materials”.
“Collaboration between NIFOR and LASCODA in providing planting materials; trade issues and land issues facilitation by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and partners and Increased sensitisation on the health, economic and environmental benefits of coconut”, she added.
Olusanya stated that the stakeholders also called for a strong partnership with the Nigeria Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Development Initiative for the growth of the Value Chain; increased daily consumption of Coconut and the setting up of a committee for the replacement of old Coconut palms, among other decisions.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji affirmed the State government’s readiness to encourage the commercialisation of coconut for both local and export markets.
Adeniji also reiterated the commitment to support Coconut farmers, processors, marketers, haulage operators and producers, among others, on food security, job and wealth creation as well as tourism.
Giving reasons for government’s focus on the value chain, the Permanent Secretary said “The State is naturally blessed with a vast Coconut Belt embedded with an abundance of Coconut resources and it has comparative advantages over other crops in the country at large. It has about three million trees with an annual production of 200 million husked nuts, while about 20,000 small scale farming families derive their livelihood from it and the number increases daily”.
Adeniji said that the United Nations Food Agriculture Organisation had projected an annual 20 per cent increase in Coconut production in Nigeria, as well as an increase in global demand for Coconut products by 500% within the last decade.