Tapping into multimillion dollars global coconut market

The global coconut products market is anticipated to hit $31.1 billion by 2026, going by forecasts by ReportLinker, an award-winning market research firm. Reportlinker reports that increase in demand for coconut products such as coconut milk, coconut water, and desiccated coconut in the food & beverage industry is one of the major factors that drives the market globally. Coconut is a highly versatile fruit and its derivatives, especially coconut oil, are sought-after ingredients for food, drink and personal care products.

In 2019, the number of coconuts produced worldwide reached 62million tonnes. Overall, coconut oil production continues to indicate a relatively flat trend pattern. The average coconut export price stood at $487 per tonne in 2019. However, Nigeria is not among the countries with the highest volumes of coconut production. The countries with the highest volumes of coconut oil production are the Philippines (1.2M tonnes), Indonesia (885K tonnes) and India (390K tonnes), with a combined 76 per cent share of global production. Vietnam, Mexico, Malaysia and Cote d’Ivoire lagged behind, together accounting for a further 12 per cent. Instead, Nigeria, according to the United Nations Statistical Office, spent $219,446.53 and $293,214.22 on coconut importation in 2019 and 2018. Nationwide, the coconut industry is distressed. Not only is its productivity low and stagnant, it is losing ground in the highly competitive global vegetable oils market.

The President, National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), Nma Okoroji, said Nigeria’s coconut import has risen over the years by more than 80 per cent as the country has not been able to produce enough coconut.

“At present about 265 tonnes of coconut are produced in Nigeria and 70 per cent of it is in Lagos State while 30 per cent is produced by the others. But, as the national president, the association cannot promote what we don’t have.

“We don’t have enough coconuts in Nigeria; 80 per cent of the coconuts that are used are imported and the cost of importation is getting higher and higher everyday,” she said.

“In Nigeria, coconut farming receives very little attention.

“The farming is a ‘gold mine’ because of its wide range of industrial applications of most of the products. For a crop not indigenous to the country, she is blessed with the trees which could help harness the development of industries through which the standards of living can be improved.

“In Nigeria, low production as a result of old plantations and the varieties, have reduced coconut industrialisation,” she added.

Coconut is one of the important and useful palms in the world. Considering the money spent on coconut importation yearly, Nigeria can gain more if more is produced. The President, Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN), Dr Victor Iyama, said there was the need for more states and entrepreneurs to join hands with Lagos to explore business opportunities in the industry, noting that it has the capacity to produce huge foreign exchange for the country. This is because the European market potential is huge with the commodity sold in many forms, fresh and processed for many uses in health food, cooking and cosmetic products.

Analysts said changing consumer health and wellness preferences have spurred a boom in global demand for products such as coconut water and oil.

Yet, many coconut farmers are not deriving a sustainable livelihood from the crop.

Inyama said FACAN was ready to partner the government and producers to get more Nigerians to invest in coconut production.


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