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FG advises Nigerians to preserve coconut cultivation for present, future generations



On Saturday, the federal government in Abuja charged Nigerians to preserve the coconut sector for present and future generations.

Ernest Umakhihe, permanent secretary at the federal ministry of agriculture and food security, gave the charge at the commemoration of 2023 World Coconut Day.

Coconut, he said, is a source of nutrition, a versatile crop, and a source of sustainable livelihood for millions.

World Coconut Day is commemorated annually on Sept. 2. The theme for 2023 is “Sustaining the Coconut Sector for the Present and Future Generations.’’

Mr Umakhihe said there was a need to preserve the sector, adopt sustainable practices, invest in research, and support smallholder farmers.

He said Nigeria could earn huge foreign exchange from coconut by ensuring that the tree of life continued to flourish.

He stressed that the coconut industry could create millions of jobs and help address insecurity and youth restiveness.

Mr Umakhihe urged stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the sector and work toward technology transfer to bridge the skills gap in the coconut value chain.

“In Nigeria, coconut production has been an integral part of our cultural heritage for centuries, offering food, fibre, and shelter.

“To ensure the long-term viability of the coconut sector, we must adopt sustainable farming practices, revamp old grooves with improved seedlings, manage water efficiently, and increase the use of organic fertiliser.

“By so doing, we will safeguard our environment and also ensure a steady supply of high-quality coconuts,’’ he said.

Mr Umakhihe added that the ministry has been distributing improved seeds and seedlings, agrochemicals, and growth enhancers to coconut farmers free of charge.

He was represented at the occasion by Aisha Aliyu, desk officer, coconut value chain, in the ministry.