James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Mariam Katagum, has said the federal government is committed to supporting current efforts aimed at harnessing the immense potentials of the coconut commodity whose global market worth is estimated at over $6 billion.
She said the commodity has lot of economic, medicinal and nutritional value and enjoys huge market in the country.
The minister, at the inauguration of the 2021 coconut planting season in Abuja, however, expressed concern that despite its economic benefits, the current local supply could only meet about 20 per cent of demand.
She said there was the need to urgently address the supply side constraints to boost the economy.
She further explained that it was in a bid to reposition the coconut segment and address the supply gaps that the ministry had nurtured and formed the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN).
Katagum, who had planted a coconut tree to kick-start the planting season, further commended the association for promoting the establishment of 10,000 hectares of coconut plantations in each of the commodity viable states in the country under the “One Family Three Coconut Trees” campaign.
She stressed that as the 18th largest world producer of coconuts, the stakeholders “must work harder to increase our market share, and the best strategy is to start cultivation of the commodity for improved yield”.
The minister expressed believe that the current campaign could reposition the industry and place the country among the largest coconut producers in Africa and the world at large.
“Therefore, the 2021 coconut planting season flag-off, is a vital step in a series of activities to actualise the coconut master plan for economic, health and export potential,” she added.
She said: “As I said earlier, we are presently producing just 20 per cent of the coconut we consume. We cannot continue to import what we can produce locally.
“To achieve this, it is imperative to build the capacity of National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, to scale up their capacity to efficiently manage the coconut business in Nigeria.”
This year’s planting season was themed:”Actualizing Coconut Sufficiency in Nigeria (COSIN), Planting Trees with Economic, Health and Export Potential”.
The minister described the theme as “apt and timely, especially now that discussions are taking place in a number of fora on how best to develop the economy through increased non-oil commodity exports”.
The President of NACOPPMAN, Mrs. Okoroji Okechukwu, said it has a vision to make the country the largest coconut producer in Africa by 2030 as well as develop a globally competitive coconut industries across the country.
She stated that the industrial use of the commodity cuts across different sectors including foods, health, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, construction, and household goods.
Some of the well packaged products derived from the coconut including oil, flour, flakes, poundo, among several others were exhibited at the ceremony.
“Today’s event marks the first step as we begin to climb the ladder of success towards the realisation of the association’s six-year strategic plan 2021-2027,” she said.