The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, on Wednesday, disclosed that Nigeria would likely generate $250 million from coconut oil in 2021 as against the $150 million generated from the export of coconut oil and its derivatives in 2020.
Nanono who made the disclosure in Benin during the training of coconut farmers organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development(FEMARD) in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Benin, added that coconut provided a livelihood for over 500,000 families, mostly women and youths in the country.
“As a result of the awareness of its value and degree of uses, Nigeria has in recent times increased the volume of production of coconut to an average of 250,000 metric tons per annum. In 2016, Nigeria produced 283,774 metric tons and the demands for the crop has been on the increase growing upwards to over 500 per cent in the last decade, he disclosed.
According to him, “available data shows that coconut is grown in 22 states of the country with Lagos being the largest producer. Other major producing states include Ogun, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Imo and Benue among others,” he said
Also speaking, the Acting Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr Celestin Ikuenobe said coconut was an exotic crop not being developed in the state like Oil palm.
Ikuenobe said: “So am happy that the ministry is trying to develop coconut because it is a very important tree crop in Nigeria. Our work here is to research crops and come out with the best varieties for maximum yield. Oil palm is our major crop, coconut, date palm, Raphia and shell all came later in 1964.”
He added that the Institute carries out research on very important crops in Nigeria to create wealth for the country and create opportunities for people to invest in those crops to earn a living.
The head of the Edo Investment Promotion Office, Mr Kelvin Uwaibi, said that coconut had shown potential benefits in the value chain.
“Coconut production is a new area that has shown significant benefits for farmers that want to go into it. It is a new area which we are quite interested in because it has shown potential in the tree crop value chain. For us, coconut has shown innovation because it can put food on the table and expand the economy.”
Uwaibi disclosed that the unit had commenced an aggressive commercial promotion of oil palm and rubber in the state, adding that the coming of coconut oil is of greater interest to the state.
Credit: Nigerian Tribune