By Oluchi Chibuzor
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has pledged the state’s preparedness to support prospective investors in the coconut value chain.
He assured potential investors of bountiful return on their investments.
The governor disclosed this at maiden international coconut Summit held in Lagos recently.
Sanwo-Olu who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, also stated his administration’s readiness to provide the enabling environment necessary to fully harness potential in the coconut value chain.
He pointed out that with oil prices averaging $63 per barrel this year, there was a compelling need for economic diversification, with greater emphasis on agriculture in general and the coconut value chain in particular in Lagos State.
According to the Governor, the state has about two million trees with an annual production of 200 million husked nuts worth about N10 billion, and has the potential of more than 10 million trees with an annual production of one billion husked nuts worth about N50 billion.
He added that presently, Lagos State is the hub of Coconut Value Chain, not only in Nigeria, but the entire West Coast of Africa.
The governor listed some of the activities the state government was embarking upon to ensure sustainable coconut production and processing as including aggressive coconut rehabilitation program (replanting), production of improved planting materials, youth empowerment schemes through the provision of small scale coconut processing equipment and a private sector-driven expansion program on coconut plantations and seed gardens.
“Coconut is one of the greatest gifts of nature to man because it exhibits a wide range of products, perhaps the most useful tree in the world. It grows naturally along coastal terrain and cultivated in about 92 countries of the world such as India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri-Lanka and Nigeria among others. Lagos State is naturally blessed with a vast Coconut Belt made up of 180 km2 (18,000Ha) Coastal line and about 703.19 Km2 (70.319Ha) on the Islands.