The General Manager, Lagos Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), Dr Dapo Olakulehin on Tuesday called on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)to develop a national policy on coconut value chain to make the crop the mainstay of the nation’s economy.
Olakukehin made the call during a one-day stakeholders meeting on coconut value chain organised by FMARD in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin.
Presenting a paper titled “The coconut tree: Economic benefit in Nigeria”, Olakulehin said coconut was a major non-oil export foreign exchange earner for the country providing livelihoods for most families in Nigeria
He noted that only proactive interventions, such as the development of a national policy and a regulatory agency, could reposition the sector for employment generation along the value chain.
According to him, Lagos had dedicated about 1000 hectares of land for commercial coconut plantation to be blocked into 100 plots, adding that the state accounted for about 70 percent of the country’s coconut production was committed to the production of over 200 million seedlings in the next five years.
Also speaking, Mma Okoroji, the National President of the National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), also appealed to the ministry to come up with a robust policy to develop the coconut value chain.
Okoroji said Nigeria was lagging behind other countries in coconut production hence the need to re-evaluate production among stakeholders to identify the current constraints responsible for the decline in the sector.
Okoroji noted that NACOPPMAN was committed to planting about 10,000 coconut trees in each of the coconut viable states annually.
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