By Nefishetu Yakubu
Nanono said this on Wednesday during the training of coconut producers organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FEMARD) in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin. .
He explained that the coconut provided livelihoods for more than 500,000 families, mainly women and young people in the country.
Nanono noted that coconut made up 10% of the country’s agricultural exports, adding that it is expected to generate more than $ 250 million by 2021.
“Due to the awareness of its value and extent of use, Nigeria has, in recent times, increased the volume of coconut production to an average of 250,000 metric tons per year.
“In 2016 Nigeria produced 283,774 metric tonnes and demand for the crop has increased, reaching over 500 percent in the past decade.
“Available data shows that coconut is grown in 22 states across the country, with Lagos being the largest producer.
According to Nanono, President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to reorganizing the agricultural sector by supporting farmers and empowering women and youth through capacity building.
Also speaking, NIFOR Acting Executive Director Dr Celestin Ikuenobe said coconut was an exotic crop that was not developed in the state like oil palm.
Ikuenobe said, “I am happy that the ministry is trying to develop coconut as it is a very important tree crop in Nigeria.
“Our job here is to research the crops and come up with the best varieties for maximum yield.
“Oil palm is our main crop, coconut, date palm, raffia and shell all arrived later in 1964”.
According to him, NIFOR is researching very important crops in Nigeria in order to create wealth for the country and create opportunities for people to invest in these crops for a living.
Mr. Kelvin Uwaibi, head of Edo’s investment promotion office, said coconut has shown potential benefits in the value chain.
“Coconut production is a new area that has shown significant benefits for farmers who want to get started.
“This is a new area that interests us a lot because it has shown potential in the tree crops value chain.
“For us, coconut has been innovative because it can put food on the table and grow the economy.
“We’re here because we want to work with different stakeholders to look at the opportunities for coconut.
“As you already know, commercially we are already promoting palm oil and rubber in the state, so coconut is also something that interests us,” Uwaibi said. (NOPE)
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