By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Lagos – The Lagos State Government on Thursday, announced its plan to host the 1st ever International Coconut Summit in Nigeria, Oct.22-23, to tap into the global economic opportunities of the coconut value-chain.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, made the disclosure during the inauguration of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) members for the planned event in Lagos on Thursday.
“The summit will increase awareness and sensation on economic potential of coconut value chain; attract high net worth investors into coconut value chain and provide platforms for stakeholders in the value chain to network.
“Ensuring that Nigeria taps from the global economic opportunities of coconut value chain; exposing stakeholders in the coconut value chain in Nigeria to best practices and boosting the foreign exchange earning of the country through coconut potential,” he said.
Onansanya also said that Lagos State is naturally blessed with avalanche of coconut resources of 180km coconut belt, two million trees and large domestic and trans-border markets.
According to him, the state also has innumerable coconut value chain actors with a net worth of N100 billion of trade annually.
He called on LOC members to leave no stone unturned and work in the spirit of comradeship to ensure the success of the summit.
Onansanya said that the state government’s attempt to remove the long chain of bottlenecks in the coconut sub-sector of agriculture informed the promotion of sustainable coconut production, utilisation and commercialisation of the commodity.
He said the ministry, partnering with the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) and other agency, was rehabilitating coconut grooves and belts, provide ding seedlings, empowering coconut processors among others.
“These achievements call for the organisation of the International Coconut Summit which will be driven by the LOC and hopefully, these references will guide the members.
Meanwhile, Mr Toyin Suarau, Commissioner for Agriculture on behalf of Gov. Akinwumi Ambode inaugurated the LOC and promised total support to ensure the success of the summit.
Ambode said: “The proposed summit is unique in the sense that it is the first of its kind in the country that will be focusing solely on coconut value chain development.
“I equally want to emphasis that choosing you to serve in this committee is not by accident but due to your relevance and capabilities to add value to coconut development in Nigeria.
“Be rest assured that the necessary support from our end will be available and accessible to the committee at all times,” the governor promised.
The General Manager of LASCODA, Mr Dapo Olakunlehi, in his vote of thanks, said that the authority and members of the LOC were ready to work hard to achieve a memorable summit.
He also said that planning for the event had commenced in earnest and thanked the Commissioner and Permanent Secretary for their support.
Mr Tokunbo Habeeb, a Director from the Raw Materials Research and Development Council(RMRDC), who is also a member of the LOC,said that the council would support summit.
NAN reports that other LOC members were drawn from LASCODA, NIFOR, FMARD, Ministry of Agriculture-Agribusiness, NACPPMAN, ALSCOP, FIIRO, LCCI, and NACCIMA among others.