Economy

WORLD COCONUT DAY: SUB-SECTOR CAN CONTRIBUTE OVER $400 BILLION TO NIGERIAN ECONOMY ANNUALLY – DR. NMA OKECHUKWU-OKOROJI

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

She stated this while speaking ahead of the 2023 World Coconut Day celebration revealing that coconuts can help generate over $400 billion for the Nigerian economy annually.

She said, “Our economy of production has proven that the coconut sub-sector can contribute over 400 billion USD to the Nigerian economy annually.

“How much is the cost of crude as compared to that of coconut? It is three times higher, and the demand for coconut products is increasing every day.”

“Between 265 tons of coconut are produced in Nigeria presently, and 70 percent of it is produced by Lagos State, and 30 percent is produced by the other states in Nigeria,” she stated.

According to the university don, despite the enormous economic potential of coconuts, it had been difficult for successive governments in the country to explore their far-reaching economic importance stressing that this has hindered the possibility of ensuring that the coconut subsector in the country makes a massive contribution to the nation’s GDP.

She harped on the economic potential of coconut production in Nigeria, insisting it is another fast way to create jobs and boost the economy.

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, emphasising that an estimated 36,000 hectares are 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, quoting the NIFOR, 2008 reports.

She also revealed that the largest producers of coconut in the world are Indonesia and the Philippines, while Tanzania ranks the highest in Africa.

Okechukwu-Okoroji added that Nigeria is ranked 18th position in the world, stating that that is the critical point why 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 organisation 10 Coconut Trees Initiative.

Meanwhile, the National Coconut Producers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), has taken a series of steps and measures to ensure that the economic importance and health benefits of coconut do not elude the Nigerian populace.

A farmer, agro-dealer, media strategist, and the Imo State Chapter Chairman of the National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), Cos-Ukwuoma Nnamdi, while speaking to our correspondent, said it has become imperative that the organisation must go beyond the ordinary to key into the global vision of massive coconut production for health and for wealth.

“The key focus is to attract more coconutpreneurs/investors in the production, processing, commercialization, and utilisation of the coconut.

“The crop can really play a significant role in the economic development of the individuals, organisations, and states of our dear country, Nigeria.” He said.

“Apart from setting aside a day for the flag-off of coconut planting season, a day is also set aside to celebrate World Coconut Day.

“As Nigeria marks 2023 World Coconut Day on September 21, 2023, with the theme: Sustaining The Coconut Sector For The Present And Future Generation Through COSIN, it is my hope and expectation that critical stakeholders in the sector will wake up to glaring realities of our time, that investment in agriculture is the only shortcut and sure way to reducing unemployment and boosting the economy.” He said.

According to him, the Imo State Chapter of NACOPPMAN has initiated several steps and taken key initiatives to step up investment in the coconut sector in the state. There is a comprehensive plan to increase the productivity of coconut farmers and growers, to ensure sustainable livelihoods for them across the state. Through this strategy, there will be doubled yields through improved planting protocols, fertilizer applications, and routine agricultural practices.

In addition to this, proactive steps are being taken to promote alternative income-generating activities for coconut farmers, ensuring an effective agricultural cooperative framework that benefits them and a more inclusive methodology to empower women farmers and the youth. As such, the imperative is a  coconut cluster that will properly and profitably harness the value chain for the benefit of all players in the industry in the state, he concluded.

Caption

Amb. Dr (Mrs.) Nma Okechukwu Okoroji mnim, ficp, fimc. ,  National President, National Coconut Producers Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria(NACOPPMAN). CEO, Mascon Coconut Farms & AgroAlied Ltd (MASCOFAL).  A lecturer at the Department of Cooperative Economics and Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka,  Anambra State.

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