By Itohan Abara-Laserian, Information company of Nigeria (NAN)
For any nation or state, worth addition to agricultural merchandise means extra overseas change earnings, meals sufficiency and security in addition to elevated Gross Home Merchandise (GDP).
For the farmer, worth addition can solely imply more cash and improved livelihood.
In Africa, Kenya information about 18 plane flying overseas with agricultural merchandise to Europe every day, which has earned them the appellation, “Africa’s greatest agriculture produce exporter’’.
Because the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, precedence is positioned on agricultural actions main to spice up in commodity manufacturing, agribusiness and agro-enterprise developments, meals safety, mechanisation and industrial farming throughout the nation.
No surprise the administration launched “The Inexperienced Various’’. It’s the consequence of an intensive session course of which began in November 2015 by means of April 2016 by the Agriculture Promotion Coverage 2016-2020.
It engaged stakeholders from farmers teams, traders, processors, lenders, civil servants, teachers amongst others.
The Inexperienced Various is constructed on the successes and classes from the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Its necessity is the imaginative and prescient of Buhari’s led administration to construct an agribusiness economic system able to delivering sustained prosperity.
On the onset of the Inexperienced Revolution by this administration, states had been inspired to pick out and develop crops of their comparative benefit to additional drive a non-oil economic system, and Lagos State selected COCONUT.
The actions of the Lagos State Coconut Improvement Authority (LASCODA) beneath the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and the way they’re severely taking steps to develop the worth chains round coconut to extend Internally Generated Income (IGR) of the state, is noteworthy.
One very enormous step taken by the state authorities beneath Governor Akinwumi Ambode to realize consumption of healthful and wholesome meals is by together with coconut within the weight-reduction plan of Lagosians, which ends up in coconut worth chain improvement.
Lagos is thought for its coconut heritage producing about 70 per cent of the nationwide output of 267,520 metric tonnes, which means that Lagos alone produces de-husked nuts of 187,264 metric tonnes of coconut yearly.
The Everlasting Secretary within the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, says that till lately, coconut was turning into moribund and wanted a complete overhaul from plantation rejuvenation to worth addition and planting of hybrid and improved seeds.
In keeping with Onasanya, farmers had been sooner or later shedding curiosity within the coconut enterprise they usually solely maintained the subsistence farming stage neglecting many derivatives of as much as 150 from coconuts.
“Up to now years, coconut has been a crop, though, I cannot say that has been uncared for but it surely has been a crop that pre-1990’s, there have been plenty of moribund plantations, a few of them very outdated which are yielding very poorly.
“Due to this fact, farmers hardly checked out them besides when it has fruits, they are going to harvest and make some meager quantity. It was being practiced at a subsistence stage at the moment.
“In 1999, what we had was to attract out a plan to enhance coconut manufacturing and to do plenty of rehabilitation, after which plant extremely improved varieties that may yield effectively and in addition diversification of coconut.
“The previous three years was to rehabilitate over 10 hectares of coconut plantation grooves; now we have additionally checked out coconut from the angle of being a miracle crop you can produce 150 derivatives from corresponding to bread, oil, paintings, milk, motor trade and others.
“On IGR, by the point we do what we’re doing within the subsequent three years, coconut will enhance contributions to the IGR of Lagos State, it isn’t that coconut doesn’t contribute however its contribution could be very minimal,’’ the everlasting secretary stated.
One of many main achievements by the state authorities is to roll out the Eko Coconut Bread, the place it partnered with 10 bakeries for the manufacturing of about 500 loaves per bakery every day.
The federal government additionally empowered the bakeries with inputs like Tricycles, two Kiosks every, 250,000 Bread wrappers every and money.
Dr onasanya stated the initiative has elevated advertising and marketing and believability in coconut by 15 per cent inside a short while and in addition the artwork of utilizing shells for adornment has additionally improved coconut shells markets by 10 per cent.
“We’ve but to faucet into 100 per cent commercialisation of coconut, now we have labored on coconut oil; coconut water; coconut chips and designated coconut, and if we maintain the tempo, we are going to obtain an entire lot.
“The bread is not going to be restricted to Lagos State alone, now we have plans to increase to different states, as we did with Lake Rice which Ogun is feeling the affect, so we’re positive that Eko Coconut Bread will develop into a staple in Nigeria.
“The Eko Coconut Bread initiative is gaining weight throughout the state and other than the 10 preliminary bakeries engaged, extra bakeries are exhibiting curiosity to work with us and that may trickle all the way down to elevated manufacturing of coconut,’’ he stated.
“Aside from the financial benefit of rising coconut, there may be additionally the ecological benefit. We’re speaking of local weather change and coconut may also help to cut back the affect on the atmosphere.
“Coconut is a crop that’s carbon sync, and we’re working with Lagos State Parks and Gardens (LASPARK) in order that they will use coconut for beautification.’’
On the hazards of farming coconut, the everlasting secretary stated that falling down of the nuts from the tree might result in dying when it hits an individual’s head standing beneath, however now, the completely different kinds of coconut has helped to cushion the mishap.
He stated the misfortune was widespread with the West African Tall selection: including: “However analysis has gone past that, now we have improved West African Tall, the hybrid and the dwarf varieties.
“We don’t see famers planting the West African Tall once more, what now we have now could be improved that’s shorter and produces higher, then the hybrid that’s shorter and the dwarf.
“We additionally do plenty of sensitisation, our extension brokers work with farmers to allow them to know the tell-tale indicators of the coconut color to allow them to know when it’s due for harvest.’’
One other space the place the state by means of the ministry of agriculture is throwing its weight is the servicing of pharmaceutical and cosmetics corporations needing further virgin coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut SAP.
Coconut sapping, based on the Division of Science and Expertise of Trinidad and Tobago’s Meals and Vitamin Analysis Institute of 2007, is a contemporary oyster white liquid obtained from the tender unopened flower with impartial PH.
In keeping with the report, every tree can yield as much as one to 3 litres of sap day by day. On two hectares of coconut plantation, 300 hybrid coconut varieties can produce 3.5 metric tonnes of coconut sugar and 205 gallons of coconut honey.
The Basic Supervisor of LASCODA, Mr Dapo Olakulehin, says that the potential of coconut had but to be utilised to the fullest as a result of coconut milk remains to be thought to be an elite commodity, SAPPING and coconut water.
Olakulehin says: “We’re growing the coconut sap; sap is rather like the way you get palm wine from palm tree however what we get from coconut is named sap.
“In palm wine, we name it tapper however in coconut we name it sapping for farmers who get liquid from coconut tree not the nut itself.
“The sap is of excessive industrial use as binder for prescription drugs and at present, all pharmaceutical corporations in Nigeria are importing sap.
“Nevertheless, within the final six months, a significant pharmaceutical and common family firm in Lagos which I might not like to say the identify, has began working with us they usually have been coaching our farmers on the sapping expertise.
“The corporate is able to off-take from farmers as soon as they excellent the act of sapping. Sapping shouldn’t be widespread on this a part of the world; it is just accomplished in Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. The corporate is collaborating with the state authorities to cut back capital flight.
“A number of weeks in the past, two Indonesians had been dropped at Badagry to coach farmers on the sapping expertise. We hope that when our farmers make the primary sapping harvest to this firm, the world will know that sapping might be accomplished in Nigeria.’’
The final supervisor stated that the event would additionally snowball into plenty of issues that may guarantee financial improvement and cut back the overseas change flight.
He stated that there are different developments made to extend processors of coconut milk and water.
“We’ve coconut milk which is being developed; the milk is nice and higher than animal milk in any kind.
“That individual worth chain is being marginally developed; we solely have one processor producing the coconut milk for now.
“Coconut milk is thought to be an elite product as a result of whenever you eat coconut milk, there are some well being challenges that it’ll tackle.
“One other space is the coconut water, there was once a perception that when you eat coconut water, you’ll develop into uninteresting; the purpose and cause behind that fantasy is as a result of they don’t want youngsters to play beneath the coconut tree so that it’ll not fall on their head.
“Past that, science has confirmed that coconut water is among the greatest antioxidants, the state has keyed into the potential of that worth and we now have some processors of coconut water however they’re having challenges since you can not protect coconut water for lengthy.
“So, we’re engaged on the expertise to make sure that the processors protect the coconut water for longer; the expertise is in different climes in Europe and different Asian international locations the place the water might be on the shelf for months.
“Whereas, in Nigeria it is just for lower than per week however we’re in fixed speak with the processors to key into the trendy expertise and earlier than then, their market remains to be on demand and it isn’t but a well-liked product for Nigerians,’’ he stated.
Olakulehin additionally highlighted among the challenges going through sufficient harnessing of the potential therein, together with processing website location and rejuvenation of plantations amongst others.
“In keeping with the World Atlas Journal statistics, within the final decade there was enormous enhance within the utilisation of coconut by 500 per cent globally.
“That reveals that there’s stress on coconut merchandise and it reveals that individuals at the moment are going again to utilizing coconut.
“The coconut now we have in Lagos can not meet up with the demand of processors and that’s the reason we’re driving rehabilitation since Lagos is environmentally conducive for coconut manufacturing.
“Since our current plantations are ageing, we’re collaborating with the Ministries of Native Authorities, Tourism and Atmosphere aggressively develop new plantations; once more there may be stress on land they usually can not find industries inside the neighbourhood.
“It must be inside industrial or semi-industrial areas, and that’s the reason we’re working severely with the Ministry of Commerce and Funding to see how coconut processors might be included into expertise incubator facilities at Agege and Improvement Heart at Igbese, Ikorodu.
The LASCODA boss, nevertheless, warned that the stress on coconut was giving room for adulterated coconut oil, milk and water.
“We’re working with the Shopper Safety Council in Lagos State beneath Ministry of Commerce and Trade to see regulate the merchandise within the markets.
Mrs Owolabi Amodu, Managing Director of Floffy Dough Bakery, one of many 10 bakeries in partnership with the state authorities on Eko Coconut Bread manufacturing, says that the acceptance and gross sales quantity has been very spectacular.
At the moment, every of the 10 bakery produces a mean of 500 loaves of coconut bread, so, day by day about 5,000 loaves are produced and jobs have been established by means of this worth chain.
Mr Femi Oke, the Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the All Farmers Affiliation of Nigeria (AFAN), says the developments within the space of including worth to coconut has elevated livelihoods of farmers within the state.
Oke stated that members who had been coconut processors and farmers had been completely satisfied and able to work with LASCODA to make sure that the efforts yielded the specified outcomes.
He, nevertheless, listed among the challenges Badagry coconut farmers and processors had been confronted with from very unhealthy street community to funds and trendy expertise.
“Coconut processors and farmers are excited with the brand new developments happening as regards worth addition within the sector and we’re hopeful that this can imply elevated manufacturing of the commodity.
“For the state authorities to website the coconut improvement fundamental workplace in Badagry is an effective signal as a result of that’s the house of coconut.
“On rejuvenation of plantations, the federal government is doing quite a bit as a result of I do know of a five-hectare plantation in Epe at present the place new varieties had been planted.
“Nevertheless, farmers will not be completely satisfied due to the street community which is in a horrible state; processing machines like de-shelling, and coconut meat extractor and insufficient funding amongst others,’’ he stated.
From the foregoing, it isn’t solely in Badagry and the coastal areas that coconut bushes develop. In addition they do effectively within the hinterlands.
If it so, what must be on the lips of the governments the place the valuable tree grows must be get the variability that may give excessive yield of their space.
Once more, they need to consider how to make sure that they used trendy expertise to supply coconuts, discover and exploit all its worth chains for the expansion of their economies, employment for teenagers and enhance their IGR. (NANFEATURES)