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FG seeks support to increase Nigeria’s share of $6bn global coconut trade

Victoria Onu, Abuja

The Federal Government is seeking support from stakeholders to increase the country’s share of the coconut global market.

Global coconut trade currently stands at about $6bn.

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum said these on Tuesday in Abuja at the flag-off of the 2021 coconut planting season.

The theme of the programme is ”Actualizing coconut sufficiency in Nigeria, planting trees with, economic, health and export potential.”

She said, “As a Ministry, we are committed to supporting activities that will help harness the immense benefits of the coconut to the economy, which is why the Ministry nurtured and formed the National coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.

“This was done to create a value chain for both local and international consumption of the commodity, especially now that the export market is growing appreciably.

“The global market for the coconut is in excess of $6bn, which means that the opportunities are huge. Therefore, as the 18th largest world producer of coconuts, we must work harder to increase our market share, and the best strategy is to start cultivation of the commodity for improved yield.”

She explained that without doubt, the country needs more coconut plantations and industries to support the few that already exist in states like Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Rivers. 

Katagum said the Nigerian coconut industry could be given a boost with more investment, to enable it provide jobs to thousands of unemployed youths, through its numerous value chains.

“Government is committed to the development of the coconut sub-sector and would work with your Association to create effective support systems for the growth of the commodity.

“I therefore, enjoin you, to develop an effective work and growth plan that can be supported by government for the expansion of the commodity,” she added.

She called on the private sector to key into the opportunity of developing the coconut value chain in Nigeria.

“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,” she added.

The Minister stated that coconut is a commodity with lots of economic, medicinal and nutritional value and the market for it in Nigeria is huge.

Unfortunately, she lamented that the local supply could only meet about 20 per cent of the demand, hence the need to urgently address the supply side constraints.

She stated that as the 18th largest world producer of coconuts, stakeholders must work harder to increase the country’s market share, adding that the best strategy is to start cultivation of the commodity for improved yield.

She commended the steps being taken by the Coconut Producers Association in promoting the establishment of 10,000 hectares of coconut plantations in each of the coconut viable States in Nigeria, under the “One Family Three Coconut Trees” campaign.

Katagum said this programme can reposition the coconut industry in the country to be among the largest coconut producers in Africa and the world at large.

She said the 2021 coconut planting season flag-off, is a vital step in a series of activities to actualize the coconut master plan for economic, health and export potential.

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