Lagos Partners FAO To Rehabilitate Coconut Belt

Lagos State Government in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has begun the rehabilitation of its coconut belt with a view to ensuring the sustainable production of coconut seedlings for the cultivation of no fewer than ten million coconut tress by 2014.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya who disclosed this in Lagos over the weekend explained that the collaboration would also ensure the rehabilitation of coconut grooves and the creation of over 500,000 job opportunities and wealth through training, capacity building and empowerment of youths and women in the State in the coconut value chain.

According to her, the collaboration becomes  Coconut is one of the major cash crops in the State with her producing over 80% of the country’s annual production of 285,200 metric tons adding that her production capacity has earned the State the 19th position on the World Coconut producing countries.

The Commissioner added that despite the efforts of the State Government in harnessing the full potentials of the tree crop, the State has only been able to access 20% of its potentials through rehabilitation and production efforts in upstream and processing, utilization and commercialization downstream while only meeting about 30% of the local demand.

“Coconut is one of the major cash crops in Lagos State with the State producing over 80% of the country’s annual production of 285,200 metric tons (MT). The effort of the State in this regard has earned 19th spot on the World Coconut producing countries.

“However, despite the efforts of the State Government through the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority in harnessing the full potentials of the tree crop, the State has only been able to access 20% of its potentials through rehabilitation and production efforts upstream and processing, utilization and commercialization downstream while only meeting about 30% of the local demand.

“It is pertinent to note that the strategic 5-year Agricultural Road Map of the present administration of having 10,000,000 productive Coconut Trees in Lagos State under the Coconut Value Chain will provide over 80 husked nuts per tree to a total of over 800,000,000 husked nuts per annum currently valued at an average of ₦100 per nut with the economic value of over ₦76Billion per annum which could be tripled to a tune of ₦240Billion worth of transaction volume with value added annually. These figures can only be achieved if the right technical and financial supports are provided.

“It is in the light of this that the State Government through the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority is collaborating with Food and Agriculture Organisation to provide technical support in the development of the Coconut Value Chain through unilateral trust fund,” Olusanya opined.

She stressed that the collaboration apart from ensuring sustainable food security through sustainable, resilient and good agricultural practices in the Coconut subsector, it would also ensure the promotion of development-oriented policies that support productive activities across the value chain, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises especially in the downstream sector of the value chain including access to inclusive financial services.

The Commissioner added that it would also guarantee the development of quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure to support economic development and human well-being through the coconut industry.

“The collaboration will help us as a State to ensure economic development in terms of revenue generation, improved standard of living, development of the local economy through employment and wealth creation opportunities, as well as the overall environmental contribution especially in mitigating the impacts of climate change and global warming,” Olusanya asserted.