The Lagos State coconut value chain, conservatively put in excess of N350 billion yearly, is set to be activated as the State partners the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat stated this during a courtesy visit by the FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Fred Kaferro, in his Office at Ikeja, emphasising that the collaboration will ensure the State’s coconut production significantly improves and the attendant value chain bolstered.
He noted that the FAO, being a research-based organisation, will visit coconut sites in the State to take a sample of the soil and coconut, determine the variety and make recommendations to the government on issues such as the replacement strategy and production processes among others.
According to Dr. Hamzat, “The collaboration will be technical in nature, it will enlighten us on how to plant our produce. It is not only about growing coconut but what you do to process it, how do we make it edible for people in various forms? So FAO will assist with that and even with the production itself. As we all know, there are different varieties of these cash crops. The FAO will also be meeting the local farmers to educate them about planting and harvesting period”.
“The collaboration will not be in a mechanistic model because we have to take locations into consideration. What is applicable in Lagos might not be applicable in Niger State, so FAO will be able to guide us appropriately”, he added.
The Deputy Governor urged the citizens to explore the inherent opportunities in the sector, stressing that the coconut value chain presents real opportunities for those who are interested.
Earlier in her remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Onasanya stated that harnessing the potentials of the coconut sector across its value chain in Lagos State is a key element in achieving the agenda of making Lagos a 21st Century Economy.
She disclosed that the development of the subsector will ensure sustainable food security, economic development in terms of generating revenue, improving the standard of living and local economy of Lagosians through employment and wealth creation opportunities as well as the overall environmental impact in mitigating against climate change and global warming.
The Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Nigeria, Mr. Fred Kaferro, commended the Lagos State Government on its commitment towards improving the food and agriculture sector.
He disclosed that the organisation will provide the needed technical assistance to tap into the opportunities of employment benefits in production and distribution in the coconut value chain.
Kaferro added that agriculture and its entire value chain require partnerships, especially as coconut produces great opportunities for income generation in different segments of the society.