Lagos, Jan. 25, 2024: The Lagos State Government has released the sum of N250 million for the implementation of its five-year Coconut Value Chain Upgrade Strategy.
Ms Abisola Olusanya, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, confirmed the release of the funds at stakeholders meeting for harnessing the economic potential of coconut water and its utilisation as industrial raw materials, on Thursday in Lagos.
The five-year startegy will improve the economic, social and environmental sustainability performance of the coconut value chain in the state.
The N250 million was the first tranche of the four million dollars estimated for the strategy.
Olusanya was represented at the event by Dr Rasheed Macaulay, Coordinating Director, in the ministry.
The workshop was organised by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Small and Medium Scale Entreprise (SWEDAN).
The theme of the workshop was: “Coconut Water Innovation; Unlocking Economic Opportunities for Sustainable Development in Nigeria.”
She said that the strategy, was proposed using the Agri-Food Systems Transformation Accelerator (ASTA) of the United Nations with the sum of four million dollars for the five-year plan.
According to her, In 2021, the Lagos State Government requested the technical support of the Food and Agricuture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) through the FAO Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF) on Coconut Value Chain Analysis and Development of an upgrading strategy for the Coconut sector of Lagos state.
“To make the support technically feasible and cost-effective and ensure an optimised return on government investment, FAO proposed implementation of an initial inception phase for six months to carry out the Coconut Value Chain Analysis (VCA).
“The analysis to design an effective action plan that will identify the necessary public and private investments, technical assistance , and policy implication for sustainable value chain development.
“The Lagos State Government co-financed the initial phase of the project with $150,000 and jointly implemented by the FAO and UNIDO.
“The report of the initial phase was duly submitted and a five-year Coconut Value Chain Upgrade Strategy was proposed using the Agri-Food Systems Transformation Accelerator (ASTA) of the United Nations with the sum of four million dollars.
“I am happy to inform you that Mr Governor has graciously approved the release of the funds for the first year of the project,” she said.
The commissioner said that the workshop was aimed at creating awareness and promotion of one of the economic and health relevance of coconut value chain.
She said that the theme also serves as another timely wake-up to go back to the basis and rekindle the and values of coconut water its plethora of allied products.
“Nigeria ranks 19th among over 92 coconut producing countries of the world, of which Lagos State, known for excellence, contributes about 70 per cent of the national production of coconut and its products.
“The recent study on the value chain by FAO shows that 90 per cent of the imported nuts from West African countries pass through Lagos State to other states of the Federation.
“It is not a gainsaying that coconut is perhaps one of the most useful crops known to man in terms of versatility, product utilisation, durability, and longevity.
The commissioner also highlighted some specific efforts that the state government had embarked on to bring back the fortune of the coconut value chain in the state to include coconut seedling production/increased number of coconut.
In his welcome address, Prof. Hassani Ibrahim, RMRDC Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, said the theme of the workshop was very timely and relevant, as stakeholders seek to explore the enormous investment opportunities in the value chain.
Ibrahim was represented by Mr Lawal Suraj, Director, Lagos Directorate.
He described coconut water as not only a refreshing and nutritious beverage, but also a versatile and valuable raw material for various industries such as food, beverages, cosmetics textiles, charcoal and energy.
He said that according to a report by Mordor Intelligence, market research firm, the global coconut water market size is estimated at $2.84 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach $4.73 billion by 2029.
“The value chain is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.77per cent during the forecast period (2024-2029).
“The report also states that Asia-Pacific is the largest market for Coconut water, followed by Europe, North America.
“Global markets and can create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators.
“We need to invest in research and development quality control, market access and regulatory frameworks that will support and enhance the coconut water value-chain.
“We also need to adopt best practices and technologies that will ensure the quality , safety and traceability of coconut water and its products.
“We need to promote awareness and education amongst consumers and stakeholders about the benefits and potentials of coconut water and its products.
“I, therefore, encourage everyone to actively participate, engage in meaningful discussions and forge connections that have the power to shape the trajectory of coconut water innovation in Nigeria.
“Let us seize this opportunity to collaborate, learn and inspire one another as we work towards a common goal of unlocking economic opportunities for the sustainable development of coconut water,” he said.
In his Goodwill message, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, MAN Director-General, said the association was passionate about opportunities for development of local industries.
Ajayi-Kadir was represented by Mrs Elizabeth Lawal, Sector Executive, MAN.
He added that “MAN acknowledges organisers’ relentlessness in the promotion of the development and optimaltilisation of Nigeria’s raw materials for sustainable industrial growth.
“We commend more importantly, the tenacity with which you sustained this drive for boosting coconut production and industry which commenced as far back as 1994.
“This aligns with our mission to promoting manufacturing sector competitiveness, job creation and Gross Domestic Product through commitment to research and development, new technologies and environmental sustainability.
“MAN has been supporting its teeming members in these areas by collaborating with reputable organisations, ministries and agencies in proffering innovative, dynamic and evolutionary approaches to manufacturing and local raw material utilisation through stakeholder engagements, trainings among others.
“We are, therefore, confident in not only the successful execution of this event but also the resultant ripple effect of further development of the coconut value chain.”
Mr Dapo Olakulehi, General Manager, LASCODA, said the state government would revamp the coconut factory in Badagry in 2024.
Olakulehin said that funds had been approved for the project and called on investors to partner with the state government to unleash the potential in the value chain.
“One of the plan of the Lagos State Government is to revive the moribund coconut factory in Badagry this year.
“The factory will process among other things coconut meat, coconut husk and shell and we are expecting to get a lot of products from the factory.
“The factory of course will generate a lot of employment for people in Badagry and in Lagos state, in general
“With our factory being in place, everything harvested from coconut in Lagos State will be fully utilised and the economic potential of the value chain will be fully unleashed.