As Nigeria’s federal government closed its borders to most of the illegal products coming into the country, given they were threatening the nation's economy, the humble coconut has received renewed attention. Coconuts are farmed on a massive scale in West African countries and they often end up in Nigeria, although the country has enormous potentials to grow it.
Dr Nma O. Okoroji, National President of Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) thinks the nation seems to have ignored the huge potentials of the coconut economy. She said he was thankful for the present closure of the border, because it has made plain to Nigerians that they don't really have many of these agricultural products in Nigeria.
"Eighty per cent of coconut used in Nigeria is imported from Ghana, Togo and the rest of African countries while we have vast land, we have human resources, we have all it takes to place Nigeria on the world map through coconut farming. Hundreds of thousands of hectares in each viable state and of course we have 26 viable states where coconut can effectively grow. With 100,000 hectares of coconut plantation, over 1000 youths will be employed, especially women and the youths and this will help grow our economy.”
Speaking on how the business of coconut product looks like in terms of money and demand, Dr Okoroji said "If you invest in one hectare on which you plant 197 seedlings and the seedlings multiply, it will produce at least 300.
"The demand for coconut product is very high because coconut is used in pharmaceuticals, it is used for cosmetics, it is used for household purposes and everybody needs coconut on daily basis. I am looking for the day in this country when people will not use cholesterol oil to cook but coconut oil which has zero cholesterol percentage. That will improve the health of the nation. With coconut, I am telling you, Nigeria will be rolling in good GDP growth," she further stated.