Abuja, Sept. 2, 2017 (TNE) : A don, Prof. MacDonald Idu, has called on the Federal Government to formulate a policy that will attract investment in the coconut sector as the world celebrates World Coconut Day.
Idu, of the Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Benin, said on Saturday in Abuja that the country could make earnings and investments in the sector.
He cited Brazil and other countries as having huge investments in coconut business.
“The Federal Government needs to formulate policies that will encourage investments in coconut business in the country.
“Today, Nigerians are feasting on coconuts from Cotonou, Ghana and other countries which to me, is ridiculous.
“We have the shores and everything in this country to grow the plant. We also have research institutes with coconut as one of their mandates.
“The government can put in money into the institutes and their research work on coconut to make it blossom and generate revenue for the country.
“They can also fund small scale private sector investors in coconuts. This will generate employment and take people off the streets,” Idu said.
The don said that investors could be trained on how to produce and package their coconut-related products properly and export them to other countries.
He said that the second name for coconut oil is “Tree of Life”, adding that all parts of the fruit is useful.
Idu said that Nigeria has the best type of coconut in the world.
“This means that we have something that we can show to the world that will improve our daily living.
“There are many things that coconut can do. It serves as food and medicine. Coconut oil is multipurpose; there are about 200 uses of coconuts.
“You can use it to soften your skin, reduce sugar level, prevent wrinkles, premature grey hair or hair loss. It can be used to prevent and treat mosquito bite.
“Government should formulate policies that will encourage investment in coconut to produce a range of products that will help the people,’’ Idu said.
Sept. 2 has been designated as Coconut Day by the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) with headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia.
All major coconut-growing countries including members of the APCC join in the celebration which is aimed at creating awareness of importance of coconut and its potential.
In Nigeria, the Association of Coconut Oil Extractors of Nigeria recognises and celebrates this day. (TNE)