The Federal Government has been urged to formulate policies that will attract investment in the coconut sector.
A lecturer in the Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Benin, Prof. MacDonald Idu, made this call at an event to mark the World Coconut Day.
The Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), with headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, designated September 2 as Coconut Day.
All major coconut-growing countries, including members of the APCC, joined in the celebration aimed at creating awareness on the importance of coconut and it’s potential.
In Nigeria, the Association of Coconut Oil Extractors of Nigeria celebrate the day
Idu called on the Federal Government to formulate policies that would attract investment in the coconut sector, noting that the country could make earnings and investments in the sector.
Urging the government to support investment in the coconut sector, he cited Brazil and other countries as having huge investments in coconut business.
“The Federal Government needs to formulate policies that will encourage investments in coconut business in the country. Today, Nigerians are feasting on coconuts from Cotonou, Ghana and other countries, which, to me is ridiculous,” Idu said.
The university don noted that Nigeria has everything to grow the plant, including research institutes with coconut as one of their mandates.
He said the government vote money into the institutes and their research on coconut to generate revenue for the country.
Idu also said the government could fund small scale private sector investors in coconuts, adding that it will generate employment and take people off the streets.
Also, investors, he said, could be trained on how to produce and package their coconuts related products properly and export them to other countries.
Idu said the second name for coconut oil is “Tree of Life”, adding that all parts of the fruit are useful. Besides, Nigeria, he said, has the best type of coconut in the world.
“This means that we have something that we can show to the world that will improve on our daily living. There are many things that coconut can do. It serves as food and medicine. Coconut oil is multipurpose oil; there are about 200 uses of coconuts, he stated.
Idu pointed out that apart from using it to soften the skin, coconut reduces sugar level, prevent wrinkles, premature grey hair or hair loss.