The Minister of State Industry Trade & Investment, Marian Katagum, has advised coconut farmers to harness the global potential market for coconut in the country, which she said is in excess of $6 billion.
Mrs Katagum said this while delivering her keynote address at the 2021 Coconut planting season flag off tagged “Actualizing Coconut Sufficiency in Nigeria”, held in Abuja on Tuesday.
She said coconut is a commodity with lots of economic, medicinal and nutritional value and the market for it in Nigeria is huge.
“Unfortunately, the local supply can only meet about 20 per cent of the demand, hence the need to urgently address the supply side constraints,” she said.
“The global market for the coconut is more than $6 billion, which means that the opportunities are huge.
“Therefore, as the 18th largest world producer of coconuts, we must work harder to increase our market share, and the best strategy is to start cultivation of the commodity for improved yield.”
Our campaign, “One Family, Three Coconut Trees” is strategic, and you must sustain the vision,” Mrs Katagum said.
According to her, Nigeria needs more coconut plantation and industries to support the already existing ones in the country.
“Without doubt, we need more coconut plantations and industries to support the few that are already existing in states like Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Rivers and so on.
“The Nigerian Coconut Industry can be given a boost with more investment, so that it can provide jobs to thousands of unemployed youths, through its numerous value chains,” she added.
She stressed that the government is committed to the development of the coconut sub-sector and would work to create effective support systems for the growth of the commodity.
“As a Ministry, we are committed to supporting activities that will help harness the immense benefits of the coconut to the economy, which is why the Ministry nurtured and formed the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN).
‘This was done to create a value chain for both local and international consumption of the commodity, especially now that the export market is growing appreciably,” she said.
At this juncture, I wish to call on the private sector to key into the opportunity of developing the coconut value chain in Nigeria.
“As I said earlier, we are presently producing just 20 per cent of the coconut we consume.
“We cannot continue to import what we can produce locally.
“To achieve this, it is imperative to build the capacity of the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, to scale up their capacity to efficiently manage the coconut business in Nigeria,” she said.
Also speaking at the event, the president, National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Nma Okoroji, said the Nigerian coconut industry is 80 per cent untapped with massive importation, whereas the industry has the potential to generate foreign exchange even greater than the current crude oil earnings and boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Currently, the production output of de-husked nuts in Nigeria is 257,520 metric tonnes which are used in the production of fewer than 1,500 tonnes of coconut oil. “That is the critical point why the 2021 coconut planting season flag-off is aimed to achieve the actualisation of coconut sufficiency in Nigeria (COSIN) through the establishment of coconut tree planting the establishment of 10,000 square meters of coconut farms in all coconut viable states and 1 family 3 coconut tree initiative,” Mr Okoroji said.
According to her, “the largest producers in the world are Indonesia and the Philippines while Tanzania ranks the highest in Africa.”
“The coconut industry has an inelastic value chain that transcends health benefits, employment generation for youth and women, family economic empowerment, medical industry, furniture, domestic kits and National income to boost our Gross Domestic Product, the need for a healthy and wealthy living has increased the consciousness of the economic potentials of and the demand is multiplying annually,” she added.
“The crop can play a significant role in the economic development of the states of our dear country, Nigeria.
“The good news here remains, Nigeria wakes up to the major coconut producer in Africa and challenges both Indonesia and the Philippines on the global coconut production scale.
“We also cannot continue to import what we can produce locally,” she added.