The Lagos State Government has indicated interest in partnering with the private sector to boost the worth of the coconut value chain from the present N76 billion to N350 billion yearly.
The state government said that 10 million coconut trees would be planted to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials to industries as part of the objectives of the state’s coconut value chain development.
Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya disclosed this during a forum organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA).
Olusanya reiterated the state government’s commitment to advancing the dream of a competitive industry to meet the rising demand for coconut and its derivatives.
During the forum themed “Addressing the Bottlenecks in the Coconut Value Chain to Ensure Sustainable Development in a 21st Century Economy,” the commissioner noted that the tremendous demand for coconut and its by-products is a clear opportunity for the state.
She stated that to achieve this, the government was seeking to collaborate with private growers to boost the supply of coconuts for the industry.
Olusanya further explained that the government wanted stakeholders’ support on broad areas of improvement for the coconut industry which included the supply of productive coconut trees, access to technology and enhancement of farmers’ productivity.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji, said that the state government was ready to encourage commercialisation of coconut for local and export markets.
“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 percent 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 percent 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,” Adeniji stated.
According to him, the Lagos State Government has been involved in the rehabilitation of the coconut belt and production of improved coconut seedlings.
A communiqué released at the end of the forum called on the Nigeria Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) and other research institutes to conduct continuous research and development on improved varieties of coconut with a lesser gestation period
It further called for the conduction of a baseline study of the entire value chain to understand the operations within the coconut Industry.