Lagos State coconut value chain which conservatively put in excess of N350 billion yearly is set to be activated as the State commences a partnership with FAO.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat stated this during a courtesy visit by the Country Representative of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Nigeria in his Alausa Office Ikeja, emphasising that the collaboration will ensure that the state’s coconut production will significantly improve and the attending value chain bolstered.
He said “the collaboration will be technical in nature, it will enlighten us on how to plant our produce, we don’t just grow coconut but what do 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 Deputy Governor noted that the FAO being a research-based organization, will visit the sites in the state and take the sample soil and coconut, see the variety and make recommendations to the state government on issues such as the replacement strategy, the procedure and the variety available and so on.
“It will be practical based. The FAO will be meeting the local farmers to educate them about planting and harvesting period.”
Dr. Hamzat said “the collaboration will start immediately but as we all know, this is agriculture, it takes time. So if they prepare these things, we start to process them but the most important thing is to start the collaboration, educate our farmers and the processors on the right way to do it”.
He stated that the assistance of the FAO is technical in nature and will include identifying our soil type and the procedures for planting the varieties.
Then the Ministry of Agriculture will work with the farmers to ensure that the product will be better than it is now and also identify the best way to process.
He further disclosed that the approach of collaboration will not be a mechanistic model because in this case, it means it depends on location, what is applicable in Lagos might not be applicable in Niger State, so, FAO will be able to give us dedicated information.
Dr. Hamzat urged the citizens to explore the opportunities in the sector and understand that there are different ways to make a living.
The idea that the only way to make a living is when you stay in the office must be changed. While stating that the coconut value chain presents real opportunities for money-making.
He added that people do well around the world as they engage in farming. So we can make money in different ways legitimately. I think it’s the way we have oriented ourselves and as a government, we must start to change that even from primary schools.
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 added 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 and the overall environmental impact in mitigating against the impacts of climate change and global warming.
In his remark, the Country Representative of Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO) in Nigeria, Mr. Fred Kaferro, commended the Lagos State Government on its commitment to food and agriculture, adding that the issues that relate to coconut are very important as it goes from production and all it takes to produce a healthy coconut into the variety and the processing and how it is consumed.
He disclosed that the organization is in the state to provide the needed technical assistance to tap into the opportunities of employment, benefits in productions, exporting or distribution in the coconut value chain.
He added that agriculture and its entire value chain require partnerships especially as that coconut produces opportunities for income generation for different segments of the society and whatever aspects they are involved in.