Coconut Producers in Nigeria under the umbrella of the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) stated that the sector can generate over $400 billion into the Nigerian economy if they are provided with innovative hybrid coconut seedlings including the Malaysian varieties that produce fruits between three years and four years.
This was disclosed in an interview on Monday by Dr Nma Okoroji, President, National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) in Abuja
She added that despite Nigeria having more arable land than Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and the Benin Republic, they produce more coconuts than Nigeria.
$400 billion in Value
Dr Nma Okoroji revealed that the crop can add $400 billion worth of value to the economy if FG provides the industry with modern seeds grown in South-East Asia, she said:
“Coconuts can generate more than 400 billion dollars into the Nigerian economy annually if proper attention is given to its production and processing.
“We want the government to give us innovative hybrid coconut seedlings like Malaysian varieties that produce fruits between three years and four years.
“One hectare of coconut plantation takes 200 trees and the hybrid variety that we are promoting produces the minimum of 100 nuts per tree after three years.
“If each nut is sold at N100, the farmer gets N2 million annually. There is no better business than that and the trees can thrive and keep producing for 80 years,’’
Imports and poor yields
She added that Nigeria currently imports coconut rather than exporting it, and blamed the situation on poor attention given to coconut production by the government, saying:
“Nigeria has more land than Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Benin Republic, but they produce more coconut than Nigeria.
“It is also disheartening that the association is not getting any government support,’’
She also added that challenges encountered by coconut farmers include paucity of funds, unavailability of organic pesticides, manure and other plant-enhancing products, mechanisation and irrigation system, urging FG to provide the association with necessary pesticides, farmland and plant-enhancing products to reduce the burden of coconut farmers and boost its production.
“We want the government to give us tractors because coconut cultivation occupies large expanses of land and is difficult to cultivate without mechanisation.
“We also appeal to the government to assist us to irrigate our farms because coconut requires a regular water supply,’’
Nigerians exported desiccated coconuts worth N13.86 billion in the first half of 2022 which was 0.1% of the total export value recorded in the same period.
Coconut is a cash crop that is grown in 22 of Nigeria’s 36 states and its production is limited to the southwestern part of the country, with Lagos State having the largest production area.
However, as of 2023, Coconuts did not make the top ten agriculture exports from Nigeria in the first quarter of 2023 as reported by Nairametrics, a sign of decreasing export activity for the cash crop.
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