The Lagos State Government says it is set to partner with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to boost the coconut value chain in the state, conservatively estimated to be in excess of N350 billion yearly.
Deputy Gov. Obafemi Hamzat said this when a team from FAO, led by its Country Representative, Mr. Fred Kaffero, paid him a visit in Lagos on Wednesday.
He said that the partnership would ensure that the state’s coconut production improved significantly, while coconut value chain was strengthened appreciably.
“As we all know, there are different varieties of this cash crop, FAO will assist with the technical know-how and support with the production itself.
“Being a research-based organisation, FAO will visit different sites in the state, take the soil samples and the coconut. It will assess the variety and make necessary recommendations to the state government on replacement strategy, procedure and the variety available for planting,” he said.
The deputy governor noted that the collaboration would start immediately with a meeting between the FAO and local farmers, with the aim of educating the farmers on planting and harvesting periods.
Hamzat also said that the Ministry of Agriculture, on its part, will work with the farmers to ensure quality products, while identifying the best way to process coconut.
According to him, this was because the potential of the coconut sector and its value chain presented real opportunities for income generation.
Earlier, in her remarks, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said that the development of the coconut sector would ensure sustainable food security, income, employment and wealth creation, which would impact on the economic development of the state.
Speaking, Kaferro commended the Lagos State Government for its commitment to food and agricultural production.
He noted that the issues relating to coconut production were important, as it was from production to variety, processing and healthy produce as well as how coconut was consumed.
He stressed that agriculture and its entire value chain required partnership, saying that coconut production would boost income generation for different segments of the society, be it in production, export or marketing of the crop.
The FAO representative said that the organisation was in the state to provide the needed technical support required for sustainable coconut production and utilisation.