Biodiversity Day: Nigerians Urged to Preserve Nature with Coconuts

Nigerians need to embrace and preserve the wonders of nature with the planting of economically viable trees like coconut.

The General Manager of Lagos State Coconut Development Agency (LASCODA), Mr. Dapo Olakulehin, said this at the commemoration of Biodiversity Day 2024 in 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 100 households.

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

“Deliberate planting of coconut trees is a wonderful way to commemorate this day, as coconut trees provide food and raw materials for industries, support ecosystem services, and offer sustainable livelihoods, just as they represent 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 the government’s continued support through the creation of an enabling environment for posterity, citing the FAO project and the Rehabilitation of the 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 coconuts per household in Nigeria, said all coastal towns and areas must embark on massive coconut plantations to preserve the land and increase the nation’s gross domestic product.

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

“Though no coastal area can compare with Badagry regarding coconuts in Nigeria, 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 and to adopt a leasing method for the 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 took advantage of the God-given resources that 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 them. Our fathers planted today’s coconuts; what are we planting for our children tomorrow? If Akwa Ibom State is serious, as they have started a 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 the 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, 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 an interest in farming with a stable income rather than run after white collar jobs that are virtually nonexistent. According to him, coconut planting and plantations are sure ways to eradicate poverty.

Hajia Aolat Idowu Agbelekale, member NACOPPMAN
Lascoda Representative, an Assistant Director, Mrs Nusirat Hammed planting coconut seedling at the flag off

Credit: Yinka Salaam

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