LAGOS State government is seeking private sector support to boost the revenue it generates from the coconut industry to N350bn ($850.8m) annually from the current N76bn raised primarily through the export of primary produce.
Nigeria is currently the world’s number 19 coconut producer with a disappointing output of 288,615 tonnes, with the bulk of this produced in Lagos State. Governor Babajide Sanwoolu’s administration has plans to expand this by developing plantations in the Badagry area of the state and adding value to what is produced.
Abisola Olusanya, the Lagos State agriculture commissioner, said that one of the objectives of the state’s coconut value chain development plan is to have 10m active and productive trees for sustainable supply of raw materials to industries. She added that the state was determined to advance the dream of a competitive industry to meet rising demand for coconut and its derivatives.
Speaking at a forum organised by the Lagos Ministry Agriculture in collaboration with Lagos State Coconut Development Authority, Ms Olusanya noted that the tremendous demand for coconuts and its by-products, such as coconut water and coconut oil is a clear opportunity for the state. She added that to achieve this, the government was seeking to collaborate with private growers to boost the supply of coconuts for the industry.
Hakeem Adeniji, the permanent secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, said the state government was ready to encourage the commercialisation of coconuts for local and export markets. He reiterated the commitment of the government to support farmers, processors, marketers, haulage operators and producers among others to provide food security, jobs, wealth creation and boost tourism.
Mr Adeniji said: “Coconuts grow naturally along the coastal terrain and is cultivated in about 92 countries of the world including India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri-Lanka and Nigeria. Some 70% of the total production from Nigeria is produced in Lagos State and ranks Nigeria 19th in the world coconut producing countries.
“Close to 80% of the coconut value chain activities, especially in the area of supply of improved seedlings to commercial coconut growers in other 26 coconut-producing states of Nigeria is currently being driven from and by Lagos State. The state is naturally blessed with a vast coconut belt embedded with abundance of resources and it has comparative advantages over other crops in the country at large.”