NIGERIA enjoyed a little success in attempts to diversify her economy last year after it emerged that the country generated a total of $150m from the export of coconut oil and its derivatives during the course of 2020.
With global crude oil demand at a record low, Nigeria is being forced to diversify her economy and sectors like agriculture and solid minerals are seen to have huge potential. Currently, about 90% of the revenue that accrues to Nigeria’s federal government comes from the sale of petroleum products and with demand weak, about one third of the 2020 and 2021 budgets were funded through borrowing.
Agriculture and rural development minister Sabo Nanono, explained that coconuts provided livelihood for over 500,000 families, noting that it accounted for 10% of the nation’s agricultural exports. He added that the product is expected to generate a total of about $250m this year.
Mr Nanono said: “As a result of the awareness of its value and degree of uses, Nigeria has in recent times increased the volume of production of coconuts to an average of 250,000 tonnes per annum. In 2016, Nigeria produced 283,774 tonnes and the demand for the crop has been on the increase growing upwards to over 500 per cent in the last decade.
“Available data shows that coconut is grown in 22 states of the country with Lagos being the largest producer. Other major producing states include Ogun, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Imo and Benue among others.”
Dr Celestin Ikuenobe, the acting executive director Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (Nifor), urged the farmers to take advantage of the training to improve coconut production to create wealth for themselves and the nation. He advised them to buy their seedlings from Nifor to ensure they have a good quality.