Aneke Ifemeni, the coordinator of the Delta State Coconut Development Programme (DESCODEP), on Tuesday, revealed the state government’s plan to generate N1.8 billion annually from coconut plantations across the state.
He said that four models have been adopted to make the programme a job and revenue generating programme for everybody involved.
The coordinator listed the models as: government/community partnership model, government/family partnership model, government/individual partnership model and government/investor partnership model.
“From the models we have adopted, considering the current prices of coconut fruit in the market, from one hectare, the government equity share is approximately N1.8 million,” Ifemeni said.
“That means from a plantation of 1,000 hectares, government will generate the sum of N1.8 billion annually , but in the next four years, we are projecting to have planted 10,000 hectares across the state.
“This will drastically reduce government dependency on revenue from oil, which is already facing threat in the world market and many research findings providing alternative to the use of oil.”
According to the coordinator, the state government has already successfully established 40 hectares of coconut plantation across the state in Onicha-Ukwuani, Utagba-Uno, Mbiri and Umuaja areas of the state.
“A coconut nursery planted with 20,000 coconut seeds had been developed in Onicha-Ukwuani. It would be used to develop 100 hectares of coconut plantation in 2023,” Ifemeni added.
He gave the revelation during the World Coconut Day Celebration held in Asaba, Tuesday, September 6, 2022 with the theme: Building a Safe Inclusive Resilient and Sustainable Coconut Community.
“Based on our adverts and the sensitization exercise carried out across the state, several communities have been writing us to partner with DESCODEP and these include individuals, cooperative societies, institutions of learning amongst others,” he said.
“So far, 5,000 hectares of land have been donated by communities to partner with us, individuals, cooperatives and institutions have donated over 2000 hectares of land for the programme.”
In our data bank, over 2,000 farmers and counting have been profiled and this exercise is on-going, he disclosed.
He said that in all the models adopted, government, community, individuals, families and investors have percentage share of the income generated as the coconut begins fruiting throughout the life span of the coconut plantation.
He said that DESCODEP would partner with National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) by engaging their members as consultants in managing the plantations, carrying out all the agronomic practices expected to ensure that coconut gives the expected yield, and also in processing the fruits into various coconut value chain and marketing the fruits..
He noted that the coconut programme was capable of funding itself and generating more revenue for funding other governmental activities.
“The job potential opportunities in the coconut production value chain is enormous as there are over 360 by-products from coconut as stated by Prof Maurice Iwu, the guru in coconut research; and these products are job providers,” he said.
“Therefore, from one hectare of coconut plantation, a minimum of four direct jobs and 10 indirect jobs will be created and in every community we establish a coconut plantation, unemployment will be flushed away.”
He held that the jobs created are white collar-jobs because one does not need to be untidy in carrying out tasks concerning the coconut plantations, especially now that agriculture has been mechanized.
He enjoined all and sundry, particularly the communities, individuals, private investors, cooperatives, institutions, and other various groups to invest and partner with government. The whole world stand to benefit and this would help to “build a safe, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable coconut community, he said.
In her remarks, Cordelia Anyangwu, the national chairman of the NACOPPMAN recalled her mandate to ensure of 10,000 hectares of coconut trees are planted across the state before year 2027.
The mandate of our association is to ensure Coconut Sufficiency in Nigeria (COSIN), she said, and expressed hope that it would be achieved even as she encouraged everyone to plant coconut tree so that by 2027, every family would have coconut in Delta.
In a brief remark, Godfrey Enita, the state commissioner for agriculture, said that Ifeanyi Okowa’, the state governor, was particular about the natural resource (coconut) because of the numerous health benefits and to boost the economy.
He advised participants at the occasion to pay attention to the resource persons so as to grab all the information the benefits of the God-given commodity offers to mankind.
He urge everyone in the state to plant coconut tree so that by 2027, every family will have coconut in Delta.
The highlights of the occasion included paper presentations on coconut by various resource persons as well as exhibition of products made with coconut.
One of such presentations was on “Coconut Resourcefulness in Multiple Diversity and Wealth Creativity” by Gloria Umukotete, the Lead Consultant, Uriri Agribusiness and Environment Innovations.
Nigeria Institute For Oil Palm (NIFOR) also made a presentation, calling for all hands to to be on the deck to lift Nigeria from 19th position globally to be top producer of coconut in Africa and worldwide.