Lagos State government in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has commenced 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 trees by 2014.
The state’s commissioner for agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, who disclosed this in Lagos at 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 became necessary because coconut is one of the major cash crops in the state with her producing over 80 per cent 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 potential of the tree crop, the state has only been able to access 20 per cent of its potential through rehabilitation and production efforts in upstream and processing, utilization and commercialization downstream while only meeting about 30 per cent of the local demand.
“Coconut is one of the major cash crops in Lagos State with the state producing over 80 per cent of the country’s annual production of 285,200 metric tonnes (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 per cent of its potentials through rehabilitation and production efforts upstream and processing, utilisation and commercialisation downstream while only meeting about 30 per cent of the local demand.
“It is pertinent to note that the strategic five-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 ₦76 billion 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.’’