MINA Blog- The Lagos State Government in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have started the rehabilitation of its coconut belt aimed at producing 10 million coconut trees by 2024.
In a statement on Sunday, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya said that the collaboration would also ensure the rehabilitation of coconut grooves, create over 500,000 job opportunities and wealth through training, capacity building and empowerment of youths and women.
She said that the collaboration became imperative as coconut was one of the major cash crops in the state, producing over 80 per cent of the country’s annual production of 285,200 metric tons.
She said that its production capacity had earned the state the 19th position on the world coconut producing countries.
The commissioner said that in spite of government’s efforts in harnessing the full potentials of the tree crop, the state was only able to access 20 per cent of its potentials.
According to her, this is through rehabilitation and production efforts in 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 million productive coconut trees in Lagos under the value chain will provide over 80 husked nuts per tree.
“A total of over 800,000,000 husked nuts per annum currently valued at an average of N100 per nut, with economic value of over N76 billion per annum which can be triple to N240 billion 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,’’ she said.
Olusanya noted that the partnership would provide technical support in development of the coconut value chain through unilateral trust fund.
She further said that it would ensure food security through sustainable, resilient, good agricultural practices and promotion of development-oriented policies that supported productive activities.
She also said it promote entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation as well as encourage the validation and growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in the downstream sector.
The commissioner said that the collaboration would guarantee the development of quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure to support economic development and human well-being.
“The collaboration will help us as as state to ensure economic development in revenue generation, improve standard of living, development of the local economy through employment and wealth creation opportunities,’’ she said.
Olusanya added that it would also help the overall environmental contribution especially, in mitigating the impacts of climate change and global warming.