By Itohan Abara-Laserian/Raji Rasak
Lagos – The Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) has attributed the shortfalls in coconut value chain and research development to poor funding and delay in the release of funds when available.
Dr Charles Aisagbonhi, the Director-General of NIFOR, made the assertion during his presentation to commemorate the World Coconut Day on Sunday in Lagos at Suntan Beach, Badagry.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Aisagbonhi explained that there was so much research work to be carried out across the value chains of coconut.
Aisagbonhi, who was represented by Dr Victor Adaigbe, Director, Coconut Department, NIFOR, said that coconut was the heritage of Lagos State and should be given priority to garner the support it deserved.
“If we have enough funds, we will be able to research on disease-resistant coconut that can yield more per hectare and meet demand resulting from greater appreciation of coconut.
“Poor funding affects effective researches on coconut. However, inadequate infrastructure for research in the sub- and experimental stations is also a challenge.
“Also, training and retraining of research and research support staff has affected the development of coconut.
“Since Lagos State is anchored by two coconut trees, it means it is the major crop of the state and should be given priority,’’ the director-general said.
He appealed to the Lagos State Government to engage in programmes that could attract Federal Government’s support to preserve its heritage.
The director-general called on the Federal Government to resuscitate the NIFOR station in Badagry as the facilities were dilapidated.
NAN reports that Badagry currently harbors two million coconut trees and has the potential of having 10 million trees.
The World Coconut Day 2018 doubles as the seventh Coconut Heritage Festival (AGUNKEFEST 2018), a collaboration between the state government and the African Coconut Heritage Initiatives.
NAN also reports that the theme of the World Coconut Day 2018 is “Harnessing Coconut Production for Economic Empowerment and Tourism Development in Lagos State’’.