LAGOS – Stakeholders present at the just concluded one- day Coconut Value Chain forum have called for a strong partnership with the Nigeria Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Development Initiative for the development of the coconut Value Chain.
They also called for an increase in its daily consumption and the setting up of a committee for the replacement of old Coconut palms.
The forum which was organised by the Lagos Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), was held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Conference and Exhibition Centre in Alausa, Lagos, with the theme; ‘Addressing the Bottlenecks in the Coconut Value Chain to ensure Sustainable Development in a 21st Century Economy’.
The stakeholders discussed several issues relating to unleashing the potentials of the coconut value chain, while also called for a closed-door meeting with the Customs and security agencies to proffer a sustainable solution to the challenges of border transportation.
The stakeholders also urged families with land to allocate their lands through Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the production of Coconut, while calling on the Lagos State University Research Institute to work with Nigeria Institute for Oil- Palm Research (NIFOR) on research in the production of Coconut as well as the identification of key entry points of Coconut into the Country.
They, however, called on NIFOR and other research institutes to conduct continuous research and development on improved varieties of coconut with lesser gestation period.
Other resolutions include the need to encourage intercropping with other arable crops such as pineapple, cotton, maize, soya beans to ensure quick returns and the need to rebrand Coconut in order to attract youths to the Value Chain.
“Provide an enabling environment for Public Private Partnership (PPP), with the private sector and other individuals; Encourage planting of coconut tree 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 can be facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and partners and Increase sensitisation on the health, economic and environmental benefits of coconut.
“To also conduct a baseline study of the entire value chain to understand the operations within the Coconut Industry to ensure ease of doing business; Synergy among MDAs in the Coconut Value Chain Development.
“Rehabilitation of the Coastal line through partnership with the private sector and establishment of a standard operating procedure on the importation of Coconut,” the Communiqué reads.
Hakeem Adeniji, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture earlier in his address, said the state government was ready to encourage commercialisation of coconut for both local and export markets.
He reiterated the commitment of the State Government to support Coconut farmers, processors, marketers, haulage operators, producers among others on food security, job and wealth creation and tourism.
“Coconut grows naturally along the coastal terrain and is cultivated in about 92 countries of the world including India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri-Lanka and Nigeria.
“70 per cent of the total production from Nigeria is produced in Lagos State and ranks Nigeria 19th in the World Coconut producing Countries.
“In addition, close to 80 per cent of the coconut value chain activities, especially in the area of supply of improved seedlings to Commercial Coconut Growers in other 26 Coconut producing States of Nigeria is currently being driven from and by Lagos State.
“The state is naturally blessed with a vast Coconut Belt embedded with abundance of Coconut resources and it has comparative advantages over other crops in the country at large.
“It has about 3 million trees with 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,” he said.
Adeniji said that the United Nations Food Agriculture Organisation had said that there was an annual 20 per cent increase in Coconut production in Nigeria, as well as, an increase in global demand for Coconut products by 500 per cent within the last decade.
Specifically, Lagos State Government has been involved in the rehabilitation of the Coconut belt and production of improved Coconut seedlings.
Abisola Olusanya , Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, presented the 19-point resolution at the end of the forum.