FG flags off coconut planting season
By Jennifer Inah
The Nigerian Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Maryam Katagum has flagged off the year 2021 Coconut Planting Season in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
She said as the 18th largest world producer of coconuts, Nigeria must work harder to increase it’s market share through cultivation of the commodity for improved yield.
She stated that the global market for coconut is in excess of USD $6 billion noting that the opportunities are huge.
“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% of the demand, hence the need to urgently address the supply side constraints” she said.
“I am made to understand that your Association is promoting the establishment of 10,000 hectares of Coconut Plantations in each of the Coconut viable States in Nigeria, under the “One Family Three Coconut Trees” campaign.
“This is a programme that can reposition the Coconut industry in our country to be among the largest Coconut producers in Africa and the world at large. Therefore, the 2021 Coconut Planting Season flag-off, is a vital step in a series of activities to actualize the coconut master plan for economic, health and export potential” Amb. Katagum stated.
She added that the ministry is committed to supporting activities that will help harness the immense benefits of coconut to the economy,
Coconut production, a business opportunity
The Deputy Director, Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Muhammed Usman representing the Ministry said Nigeria’s national coconut production is about 284 metric tonnes representing 48 percent of the global production with an annual average of 6000 nut per hectare.
He said “National demand is 1million metric tonne leaving a national deficit of 716,000 metric tonne. Its yield makes Nigeria a huge producer of coconut.
“Coconut plantation provides business opportunities to thousands of people in the region where it is situated. The increased role of coconut in food production, foreign-exchange and in raw materials for Industry income and employment generation to millions of Nigerians including women and young people makes it a very crucial asset for national economic development.”
He added that the global demand of coconut increased by over 500% in the last five years underscoring the huge economic potential yet to be explored by Nigeria.
The President, National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mrs Okoroji Okechukwu, said the goal of the association is to become the largest producer of coconut in Africa by 2030 and develop a global competitive coconut industry.
“Coconut is the oxygen that can resuscitate the economy and promote productivity. With the establishment of one hecter of coconut plantation in every state a total sum of 320 trillion naira will be generated when value is added to it, this is the gold mine we have been sitting on” she said.