NIGERIA – Coconut farmers from Rivers State have set out to make coconut farming a key economic pursuit with investment plans along the coconut value chain currently in motion.

Specifically speaking at the annual ‘Coconut Festival’, recently held at Asarama-ija, Andoni in Rivers,  Mr. Inwon Urang, paramount ruler, Asarama-ija community in Andoni Local Government Area of  Rivers said coconut farming is a veritable investment capable of enhancing employment and the local economy.

“We have acquired a verse piece of land basically for planting of improved species of coconut because we are looking beyond the festival,” announced Urang.

“Coconut is an economic tree suitable for our terrain and we hope to develop it. We will start off the plantation with about 2,000 coconut stands in the first phase of the project.”

Currently, the community has about 3,000 coconut trees with a yearly harvest of over 10,000 coconuts hence the prompt for an investment plan along the coconut value chain.

According to Urang, Coconut and its bi-products are of great economic values and the community is looking forward to partnering with the government and private entrepreneurs in that regard.

A beacon of potential

Meanwhile, in September last year, the President of the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), Dr Mrs Nma Okechukwu-Okoroji, revealed that the Coconut Sub-sector can contribute over USD 400 billion to the Nigerian economy annually.

Speaking ahead of the 2023 World Coconut Day celebration, Okechukwu-Okoroji, said coconut production can rival crude oil in terms of potential as a source of foreign exchange for the country.

She noted that about 265 tons of coconut are produced in Nigeria presently with 70% of it being produced in Lagos State.

She disclosed that coconut is a tree of life, a cash crop that grows in over 30 of Nigeria’s 36 states, with Lagos State having the largest production area.

Okechukwu-Okoroji said an estimated 36,000 hectares is presently under cultivation mostly in Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Rivers state, adding that an estimated 1.2 million hectare of land is suitable for coconut cultivation, according to NIFOR 2008 reports.

“The largest producers of coconut in the world are Indonesia and the Philippines, while Tanzania ranks the highest in Africa with Nigeria ranked at the 18th position in the world.”

Okechukwu-Okoroji said the 2023 Coconut Planting Season Flag-Off is aimed at achieving the Actualization of Coconut Sufficiency in Nigeria by 2027 (COSIN), through the establishment of coconut tree planting, the establishment of 10,000 square meters of coconut farms in all Coconut Viable States and 1 Family 3 Coconut Trees and 1 organization 10 Coconut Trees Initiative.

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