Nigeria has the potential to generate over N10 Billion annually from farmers and agro-business entrepreneurs through the coconut subsector, according to the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN).
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, President of the Association, Mrs. Nma Okoroji stress the need to promote coconut production, processing and marketing, adding that coconut is one of the viable and valuable cash crops in the agricultural sector.
In her remarks, coconut production has the potential to boost Nigeria’s economy through the establishment of coconut plantation and value addition for agro-prenuership.
She explained that the production of coconut would generate employment and income for farmers, it would also improve the foreign exchange earnings of the country through export potential, relevance to nutritional food security, robust value chain development and contribution to national growth.
Mrs. Okoroji said, “Coconut is grown in 32 states in Nigeria and it is the most viable plant of choice in the Much-Needed Environmental Remediation and forestation. Every viable state has the potential for the production of 10 Million coconut trees with an annual production of over 1 Billion husked nuts, worth over 45 Billion Naira.
“Statistics has shown that the price of coconut oil cannot be compared to the price of crude oil as a barrel of coconut oil keeps appreciating more than the barrel of crude oil.
“It is also one of the very few plants that even peasant farmers with small holdings are ready to protect and nurture because it accommodates mixed cropping and can grow the GDP of Nigeria exponentially, creating jobs to the timing youth and women, crime reduction and mitigation of social vices in Nigeria.”
She also pointed out challenges affecting coconut production in Nigeria such as poor technology know-how and lack of good hybrids to support the farmers.
Against this backdrop, she urged the state government to partner with the association, by assisting them with human and financial capacity for coconut plantation across the country.
Also speaking with journalists, the Project Coordinator, Federation of Agricultural Association of Nigeria (FACAN), Isaac Ojonugwa, disclosed that the association will be linking smallholder farmers with major off-takers to create income.
The association is making an attempt to get the database of farmers that are involved which will guarantee the price at the prevailing market that will be beneficial to the farmers and off-takers, he added.