Biodiversity Day: Nigerians Urged to Preserve Nature with Coconuts

The General Manager of Lagos State Coconut Development Agency (LASCODA), Mr Dapo Olakulehin said this at the commemoration of Biodiversity Day 2024 at Ajido town, Badagry, Lagos.

The event, jointly organised by the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) and Lagos Community Youth Development Initiative also coincided with the 2024 Coconut planting flagoff by NACOPPMAN to over hundred households.

Olakulehin, who was represented by a Director in the agency, Mrs Nusirat Hammed said, as the world celebrates Biodiversity Day 2024, “we must embrace the wonders of nature and take action to preserve it for future generations.

“Deliberate planting of Coconut trees is a wonderful way to commemorate this Day, as coconut trees: provides food and raw materials for the industries, support ecosystem services, offer sustainable livelihood, just as it represents a symbol of resilience and adaptability.

“By planting coconut trees, you’re contributing to: preserving biodiversity, combating climate change via forestation, empowering communities and protecting the environment.”

The General Manager pledged government’s continued support through creation of enabling environment for posterity, citing FAO project, Rehabilitation of Coastline (Green Wall) among other supports.

Coconut revolution

The guest speaker at the occasion, Alhaji Muftau Ayoade, while advocating for a coconut planting revolution of two coconut per household in Nigeria, said all coastal towns and areas must embark on massive coconut plantation to preserve the land and increase the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

“We must not allow our fruits (coconut) to go into extinction. We are getting to a situation where coconut may go into extinction in Badagry if care is not taken.

“Though, no coastal area can compare with Badagry regarding coconuts in Nigeria, yet, Nigeria still imports 70% of its coconut needs from Ghana and other countries. Hence we need to reestablish coconut in Badagry.

Ayoade told Badagry indigenes and residents to stop selling their land for building purposes, but to adopt leasing method for planting, processing and marketing of coconuts where they will equally be stakeholders in the plantation.

He advised the audience to borrow a leaf from the Jews in the US who bought most of the arable lands over centuries and then preserve them for agriculture, making them the richest in the US.

He said Nigerians could equally strengthen themselves financially if they take advantage of the God-given resources that the nature has blessed them with.

Coconut, a tree of life

The State Chairman of NACOPPMAN, Alhaji AbdulSalam AbdulLateef who commended the Lagos State Coconut Development Agency (LASCODA) and other coconut stakeholders at the 2024 Coconut planting flagoff, urged the beneficiaries of the coconut distribution to “keep planting, keep adding value, keep the pace, and keep the legacy with which the Badagry community has been known for centuries.

He urged Nigerians to celebrate coconut and biodiversity through action by planting coconuts, saying there are over 1001 products from coconuts that could provide jobs and make them economically viable.

“Coconut is a tree of life. It’s a pensionable business. Do not live on past glories, and do not be deceived by it. Our fathers planted today’s coconuts, what are we planting for our children tomorrow. If Akwa Ibom State is serious as they have started coconut plantation, they may soon surpass Lagos.

“Should Ghana stop selling coconut to Nigeria today, Nigeria will be in trouble. Let’s develop ours to be able to export coconut and its by-products to other countries.

“Let’s key into NACCOPMAN project – Coconut Sufficiency in Nigeria (COSIN-2028) which has 2028-2030 for realising its goal. We should be talking about exporting Coconut to West Africa and not just sufficiency in 2028.

Sure way to poverty eradication

The coordinator of Ajido Youths as well as Lagos Community Youth Development Initiative, Yahaya Ajape, urged the youths to take interest in farming with stable income rather than run after white collar jobs that are virtually non-existent. According to him, coconut planting and plantation are sure ways to eradicating poverty.