NIGERIA – The Nigerian Federal Government has disclosed plans to increase Nigeria’s current production level of coconut from 224,186 Metric Tons (MT) to 500,000MT by 2025, about 123% increase in coconut production.

This announcement was made public by The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Alhaji Abubakar during the 2023 10th International Coconut Festival AGUNKEFEST themed: “A Decade of Coconut Culture to Ignite Century Action Plan for Coconut Prosperity in Nigeria”.

According to the minister, represented by Mrs. Abimbola Oguntuyi, the Lagos State Coordinator of the ministry at present, Nigeria is ranked 19th in the world among coconut producing countries, and there is the need to increase Nigeria’s current production level from 224,186 MT to about 500,000MT by 2025. 

“1,000 coconut seedlings have been graciously approved for the festival because AGUNKEFEST 2023 is not just a celebration of coconuts, but a call to action,” he said.

“It is a call to farmers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and policy makers to come together and work toward developing the coconut sub-sector to create wealth, not just for ourselves, but for our communities and our countries.” 

The minister’s representative therefore urged Nigerians to work together to promote the growth and sustainability of the coconut industry in the country.

“I am convinced that if the full potential of the sector is properly harnessed, it is capable of making a great economic impact on the country,” he added.

He said agriculture should be treated with all seriousness it deserved, as a business with enormous potential including jobs for youths, revenue generation, diversification of Nigeria’s economy, reducing over dependence on oil, earning and conserving our foreign exchange and expanding our revenue sources.

Also speaking, Mrs. Lola Ade-John, the Minister of Tourism, said the festival would not only promote tourism, but also celebrate Nigeria’s culture and traditions besides boosting the Nation’s economy.

She said the country would be able to generate more than N20 billion (USD 25.32 million) in foreign exchange equivalent through coconut and its derivatives export.

Ade-John, who was represented by Mr. Tony Okonju, a Chief Tourism Officer, said the coconut industry had the potential to provide food, raw materials, income, and employment for Nigerians if it is properly harnessed.

She said that the festival was designed to create awareness about the economic, environmental, and nutritional value of coconuts and as well as encouraging sustainable practices within the coconut industry.

In his keynote address, Mr. Julian Baricuatro, the President, International Coconut Festival, Canada, urged the Nigerian government to encourage more people to plant coconut in the country.

Baricuatro said coconut farming had the capacity to meaningfully engage more youths hence the government should work on its value chain, stressing that its nutritional and health values could not be overemphasized.

Ministry to renovate Topo Island – first coconut plantation in West Africa

Also speaking, the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisoye Olusanya, said the ministry would renovate Topo Island in Badagry to be the first coconut plantation in West Africa.

Olusanya, who was represented by Mr. Oladapo Olakulehin, the General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), said the ministry would collaborate on Tourism, Arts and Culture to create more tourist attractions in Badagry.

She said that through LASCODA, the ministry would establish a coconut factory in the town.

In his remarks, Prince Mesi Doheto, the President of African Coconut Heritage Initiative (AFRICOCO), said the festival stands as an intersection of culture and innovation.

“This is exhibiting the rich cultural heritage of different coconut producing communities and the economic significance of this wonder crop globally,” he said.

“It is a testament to our collective commitment to fostering unity through cultural tourism and harnessing the potential of coconut for a more sustainable and prosperous future.”

The global Coconut market size was valued at USD 18510.92 million in 2022 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 13.56% during the forecast period, reaching USD 39703.85 million by 2028.

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