The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and investment, Mariam Katagum, has called for more investment in the coconut industry for economic growth.
Mrs Katagum made the call at the inauguration of this year’s Coconut Planting Season with the Theme ”Actualising Coconut Sufficiency in Nigeria (COSIN), on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said that more investment would develop the coconut sub-sector by boosting production, job creation through its numerous value chains and also improve the economy.
She noted that government was committed to the development of the coconut sub-sector and would work with the association to create effective support systems for its growth.
According to her, it is imperative for the association to develop an effective work and growth plan that can be supported by government for the expansion of the commodity.
“As a Ministry, we are committed to supporting activities that will help harness the immense benefits of the coconut to the economy, which is why the ministry nurtured and formed the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN).
“The Coconut is a commodity with lots of economic, medicinal and nutritional value and the market for it in Nigeria is huge. Unfortunately, the local supply can only meet about 20 per cent of the demand, hence the need to urgently address the supply side constraints.
“The global market for the coconut is in excess of 6 billion dollars, which means that the opportunities are huge and as the 18th largest world producer of coconuts, we must work harder to increase our market share.
“Therefore, the 2021 Coconut Planting Season flag-off, is a vital step in a series of activities to actualise the coconut master plan for economic, health and export potential.
“Without doubt, we need more coconut plantations and industries to support the few that are already existing in states such as Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Rivers among others,” she said.
The minister called on the private sector to key into the opportunity of developing the coconut value chain in Nigeria to help meet the demand of consumers, adding that we cannot continue to import what we can produce locally.