The Edo State Government has expressed readiness to promote investment in cultivation of coconuts as part of its strategy to expand its tree crop value chain and diversify its economy.
Head of Edo Investment Promotion Office, Mr Kelvin Uwaibi, disclosed this at a training for coconut farmers organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FEMARD) in collaboration with Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
According to him, “Coconut has shown potential benefits in the value chain. Coconut production is a new area that has shown significant benefits for farmers that want to go into it. It is a new area which we are quite interested in because it has shown potential in the tree crop value chain.
He added: “Coconut can put food on the table and can also expand the economy. We are here because we want to work with different stakeholders to look at the opportunities in the coconut value chain. As you are already aware, commercially, we are already promoting oil palm and rubber plantations in the state, so coconut is also something we are interested in.”
On her part, the National President of the National Coconut Producers, Processors And Marketers Association of Nigeria, NACOPPMAN, Nma Okoroji said the association is working to reposition the coconut value chain in Nigeria.
She said: “Statistics show that despite arable lands for coconut production, Nigeria still lacks behind global coconut producing countries of Indonesia and Philippines. Nigeria produces a negligible quality of only 364,000 metric tons annually. Lagos state dominates the local production with its output of 257,000 metric tons annually.”
“NACOPPMAN is working to achieve 10,000 hectares of coconut plantation in each state in the first phase. One hectare of coconut plantation will create employment for women and youths. Every 10,000 hectares generates 10,000 jobs, creating meaningful employment opportunities to 340,000 Nigerians in over 34 coconut viable states,” she added.