General Manager, LASCODA, Oladapo Olakulehin, stated this at the World Coconut Tree Planting Day event inaugurated by JAM The Coconut Food Company recently at the Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to Olakulehin, if achieved, the feat would make Nigeria one of the top 10 coconut producing countries in the world. The country currently ranks 18th in position.
Olakulehin noted that the number of coconut trees in Nigeria’s coastal areas are decreasing by the years, hence the need for mass planting of coconut trees.
He, therefore, warned that if care is not taken, there may not be coconut trees on the land again in the next 20 years.
Lagos, he also disclosed, accounted for nearly 70 per cent of Nigeria’s coconut production and called on residents to imbibe the culture of coconut tree planting in their homes where there is space for such.
“Nigeria is under-utilizing coconut and its product as we are only making use of less than 20 per cent of what we can get from it,” he said.
Olakulehin added that LACSODA, which was formed for the promotion, production, commercialisation and utilisation of coconut in 1996, was part of the foresight of the Lagos State government to, among other factors, prevent the extinction of coconut trees in Nigeria.
He applauded JAM The Coconut Food Company for their exemplary initiative to plant 2000 coconut trees in Lagos.
Programme Convener, Ebun Feludu, Executive Director of JAM The Coconut Food Company, said beyond the business part, the essence of the programme was to ensure that the tree of life, the Coconut Tree is widely available in public spaces in Lagos.
This she said is a CSR activity for JAM The Coconut Food Company, a leading coconut processing company based in Lagos and the company would make the coconut Tree Planting an annual theme, increasing the number of coconut trees to be planted every year.
“There’s need to sustain trees by continuous planting, and what better trees than coconut trees.
Coconut trees are so precious and underutilized hence there’s need for it to be sustainable for maximum benefit for human use.”
Feludu pointed out that the programme also celebrates the 10th anniversary of her expedition from Lagos to London Sahara expedition in 2008 with Newton Jibunoh’s organization Fight Against Desert Encroachment.
She says the theme of the exercise was inspired by the qualities of the coconut tree- to beautify, to feed, to heal.
She said: “Trees are forever; they will be here long after we are gone.
This project is a legacy that will live even beyond our children and we call on citizens of Lagos, citizens of the world to join us to make this happen.
For instance, my family has paid for 100 trees in honour of my late father Olalekan Aremu Olatoye.
“Adopt a tree for just N3,600, and for every 10 trees you donate, you have the privilege of having a tree named after you or your loved ones.
Feludu also recalled that coconut tree is clearly visible in the logo of Lagos State crest noting that it stands as pillars to the logo to signify its importance.
Highlight of the event was the rendition of a coconut poem by Anaborhi and Joba Feludu, who are the kidpreneurs who started the business and the official planting of coconut trees around the venue of the programme by a host of personalities which include renowned expeditionary cum environmentalist, Chief Newton Jibunoh, Miss Nigeria 2017, Mildred Ehiguese, Publisher, Today’s Woman magazine Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Olakulehin, Tega, Ebun, Joba and Anabhori Feludu, among others.
The public spaces for planting the trees were provided by Lagos State Parks and gardens.
The project is a JAM The Coconut Food Company initiative in partnership with Lagos State Parks and Gardens and Lagos State Coconut Development Authority.