By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – The Federal Government has expressed it’s readiness to increase the nation’s share of the coconut global market which is currently in excess of $6bn.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Marian Katagum, said this on Tuesday in Abuja, at the flag-off of the 2021 Coconut Planting Season with the theme “Actualising Coconut Sufficiency in Nigeria (COSIN), Planting trees with, Economic, Health and Export Potential’.
The event seeks to develop the coconut sub-sector by boosting production, wealth and job creation.
While expressing concerns over the low production of coconuts in the country, the minister said the present administration would throw its weight behind programmes to energise the sector.
“The coconut is a commodity with lots of economic, medicinal and nutritional value and the market for it in Nigeria is huge. Unfortunately, the local supply can only meet about 20% of the demand, hence the need to urgently address the supply side constraints.
“I am made to understand that your Association is promoting the establishment of 10,000 hectares of Coconut Plantations in each of the Coconut viable States in Nigeria, under the “One Family Three Coconut Trees” campaign.
“This is a programme that can reposition the Coconut industry in our country to be among the largest Coconut producers in Africa and the world at large. Therefore, the 2021 Coconut Planting Season flag-off, is a vital step in a series of activities to actualize the coconut master plan for economic, health and export potential.
“As a Ministry, we are committed to supporting activities that will help harness the immense benefits of the coconut to the economy, which is why the Ministry nurtured and formed the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN).
“This was done to create a value chain for both local and international consumption of the commodity, especially now that the export market is growing appreciably.
“The global market for the coconut is in excess of USD $6 billion, which means that the opportunities are huge. Therefore, as the 18th largest world producer of coconuts, we must work harder to increase our market share, and the best strategy is to start cultivation of the commodity for improved yield. Your campaign, “One Family, Three Coconut Trees” is strategic, and you must sustain the vision”, Katagum said.
The minister further said the nation’s coconut industry could be given a boost with more investment, to enable it provide jobs to thousands of unemployed youths, through its numerous value chains.
“Government is committed to the development of the coconut sub-sector and would work with your Association to create effective support systems for the growth of the commodity.
“I therefore, enjoin you, to develop an effective work and growth plan that can be supported by government for the expansion of the commodity,” she added.
She called on the private sector to key into the opportunity of developing the coconut value chain in Nigeria.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, said the Federal Government would fully support the initiative aimed at planting 10,000 hectares of coconut in the country.
Sani-Gwarzo, who was represented by the Director, Human Resource Department in the Ministry, Simon Alabi, commended NACOPPNAM for its efforts in boosting the nation’s investment through the coconut value chain.
Earlier, the President, National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mrs Okoroji Okechukwu, said the goal of the association is to become the largest producer of coconut in Africa by 2030 and develop a global competitive coconut industry.
“Coconut is the oxygen that can resuscitate the economy and promote productivity, with the establishment of one hectare of coconut plantation in every state a total sum of 320 trillion Naira will be generated when value is added to it; this is the gold mine we have been sitting on,” she added.
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