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Tinubu government wants Nigerians to produce more coconuts to create wealth

Nigeria is ranked 19th in the world among coconut producing countries.

President Bola Tinubu [Presidency]

Kyari said this during the 2023 10th International Coconut Festival AGUNFEST in Badagry, Lagos, on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the festival was "A Decade of Coconut Culture to Ignite Century Action Plan for Coconut Prosperity in Nigeria."

According to Kyari, at present, Nigeria is ranked 19th in the world among coconut producing countries, and there is the need to increase Nigeria's current production level from 224,186 MT to about 500,000MT by 2025.

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He said, "1,000 coconut seedlings have been graciously approved for the festival. AGUNKEFEST 2023 is not just a celebration of coconut, but a call to action.

"It is a call to farmers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and policy markers to come together and work toward developing the coconut sub-sector.

"Also to create wealth, not just for ourselves, but for our communities and our countries," he said.

Kyari urged Nigerians to work together to promote the growth and sustainability of coconut industry in the country.

"I am convinced that if the full potential of the sector is properly harnessed, it is capable of making a great economic impact on the country," he said.

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The Minister, who was represented by Abimbola Oguntuyi, the Lagos State Coordinator of the ministry, said agriculture should be treated with all seriousness it deserved, as a business with enormous potential.

Kyari said such potential include jobs for our teaming youths, revenue generation, diversification of our economy, reducing over dependence in oil, earning and conserving our foreign exchange and expanding our revenue sources.

Also speaking, Lola Ade-John, the Minister of Tourism, said the festival would not only promote tourism, but also celebrate Nigeria's culture and traditions besides boosting the nation's economy.

She said the country would be able to generate more than ₦20 billion in foreign exchange equivalent through coconut and its derivatives export.

Ade-John, who was represented by Tony Okonju, a Chief Tourism Officer, said the coconut industry had the potential to provide food, raw materials, income, and employment for Nigerians if it is properly harnessed.

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She said that the festival was designed to create awareness about the economic, environmental and nutritional value of coconuts and as well as encouraging sustainable practices within the coconut industry.

In his keynote address, Julian Baricuatro, the President, International Coconut Festival, Canada, urged Nigeria government to encourage more people to plant coconut in the country.

Baricuatro said coconut farming had the capacity to meaningfully engage more youths.

He also urged the government to work on the value chain of coconut, stressing that its nutritional and health values could not be overemphasised.

Also speaking, the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisoye Olusanya, said the ministry would renovate Topo Island in Badagry being the first coconut plantation in West Africa.

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Olusanya, who was represented by Oladapo Olakulehin, the General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), said the ministry would collaborate with Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to create more tourist attractions in Badagry.

She said that through LASCODA, the ministry would establish coconut factory in the town.

In his remarks, Prince Mesi Doheto, the President of African Coconut Heritage Initiative (AFRICOCO), said the festival stands as an intersection of culture and innovation.

"This is exhibiting the rich cultural heritage of different coconut producing communities and the economic significance of this wonder crop globally.

"It is a testament to our collective commitment to fostering unity through cultural tourism and harnessing the potential of coconut for a more sustainable and prosperous future," he said.

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Mesi thanked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, the Ministry of Agriculture, LASCODA, Federal Ministries of Tourism and Agriculture, Nigeria Institute for Oil Palm Research and the three Councils in Badagry for their support.

NAN reports that the 2023 edition of the festival started on July 7 with coconut planting across different locations and distribution of the seedlings to schools and public places.

Some seedlings were also donated to coconut growers and marketing associations.

NAN also reports that festival was marked with different activities including Schools Art and Crafts, Painting, Poetry Competition, National Coconut Awards, Fashion Show and Miss AGUNKEFEST competitions.

The climax of the festival included a Symposium and Business Forum, Community Float Parade, Cooking Demonstration, Exhibition, Musical Entertainment and Cultural Performance.

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