By Nefishetu Yakubu
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FEMARD) has organised a 2-day training for 50 coconut farmers to improve the value chain.
Speaking while declaring open the training in Benin, the Minister, Mr Sabo Nanono, said that the training was to improve the livelihood of coconut farmers.
Nanono said that the training was done through the integrated coconut based agro-forestry system and plantation establishment organised under coconut value chain of the ministry.
Represented by Mr Bernard Ukattah, Deputy Director, FEMARD, Nanono stated that the training was done in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR).
“This workshop is coming at a very crucial moment of the country ‘s recovery from a difficult spell of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is out of the need to attain food security, self-sufficiency and improve the livelihood of coconut farmers that government decided to create awareness and build the capacity of the farmers.
He added thst it was to improve the technical know-how of coconut farmers to increase productivity and ensure quality of products for local and international markets.
National President of the National Coconut Producers, Processors And Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) Nma Okoroji said that the association planned to reposition coconut value chain in Nigeria.
Okoroji said that NACOPPMAN’s mission was to actualise its road map of midwifing the establishment of 10,000 hectares and plant two million coconut trees in each viable state.
“Statistics show that despite arable lands for coconut production, Nigeria still lags behind global coconut producing countries of Indonesia and Philippines.
“Nigeria produces a negligible quantity of only 364,000 metric tons annually. Lagos state dominates the local production with its output of 257,000 metric tons annually.
“NACOPPMAN is working to achieve 10,000 hectares of coconut plantation in each state in the first phase.
“One hectare of coconut plantation will create employment for women and the youth.
“Every 10,000 hectares will be generating 10,000 jobs, creating meaningful employment opportunities to 340,000 Nigerians in over 34 coconut viable states.
“With processing hub, over 340 million employment opportunities will be created,” she said.
According to her, I want to thank the ministry and NIFOR for the workshop.
“We promise that through this workshop and subsequent provision of seedlings and inputs to the association, we will transform Nigeria through coconut value chain,” she added.
The Acting Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, urged the farmers to take advantage of the training to improve the production of coconut to create wealth for themselves and the nation.
Ikuenobe advised the farmers to buy seedlings from NIFOR which, he said, were the best in the country.(NAN)