The Lagos State Government has announced its plans to host the first ever International Coconut Summit in the country to aid farmers tap into the $4billion global coconut market.
Olayiwole Onasanya, permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, stated this during the inauguration of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) members recently in Lagos.
Onansanya said that the state government, in an attempt to remove the bottlenecks in the coconut sub-sector and sustain the production, utilisation and commercialisation of the crop, set out to host the summit.
“The summit will be able to increase awareness and sensation on the economic potentials of coconut and attract high net worth investors into coconut value chain while providing a platform for stakeholders in the value chain to network,” he said.
“It will ensure that Nigeria taps from the global coconut market exposing and training stakeholders on best practices to enable them boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings by exporting the crop.”
He stated that the state through the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) has helped in the rehabilitation of old trees, provision of seedlings to farmers and empowering of processors on processing crops, among others.
Onansanya added that the state is naturally blessed with an avalanche of coconut resources of 180km coconut belt, two million trees, large domestic and trans-border markets, innumerable coconut value chain actors with a net worth of about N100 billion annual trade.
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He charged the local organising committee instituted for the summit to leave no stones unturned and work in the spirit of comradeship while discussing critical issues concerning the summit.
Coconut is a cash crop that is grown in 22 of Nigeria’s 36 states, with Lagos State having the largest production area.
The crop serves as a raw material for numerous industries such as pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food and beverage with limitless domestic and export potential.
Speaking also, Toyin Suarau, commissioner for Agriculture on behalf of Governor Akinwumi Ambode, inaugurated the LOC and promised total support to ensure the success of the summit.
“The proposed summit is unique in the sense that it is the first of its kind in the country that will be focusing solely on coconut value chain development,” he said.
“I equally want to emphasise that choosing you to serve in this committee is not by accident but due to relevance and capabilities to adding value to coconut development in Nigeria.
On his part, Dapo Olakunlehi, general manager of LASCODA in his vote of thanks said that the authority and members of the LOC were ready to work hard at achieving a memorable summit.
He also said that the proposed date of the summit would be October 22-23, 2019 and that planning had commenced in earnest and thanked the commissioner and permanent secretary for their support.
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