Need I still say what the event was all about?
Cocos Nucifera! Coconuts all the way.
Little did I know that there is much, much, more to the coconut business than meets the eye!
To be clear, at Rosyamens Enterprises Ltd, the company where I work, we have been involved in some form of coconut trade within the past few years.
We supply supermarkets and retailers, and bulk buyers in Lagos with export quality Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG’s) including a premium brand of export quality coconut flakes.
We even recently started supplying a Lagos based food processing company with desiccated coconuts as part of their raw materials which has been giving us significant returns monthly.
But the FACC one day coconut seminar was an eye opener. We had about six different speakers who came to enlighten us about the almost limitless opportunities in the coconut industry.
In fact, one of the speakers talked about a worldwide COCONUT ECONOMY that is estimated to be in billions of dollars annually! Quite some countries (especially countries with generous coastlines) are making significant income from this Tree of Life.
We were even told that Coconuts can thrive in about 26 states in Nigeria, yet very little or nothing has been done to take advantage of this opportunity. Thankfully, with such awareness as FACC has is creating, that is about to change.
The beauty of the coconut plant is that (like many other cash crops) every part of it is useful.
Speaker after speaker, we were treated to the investment opportunities, export potentials, health benefits and various money making opportunities that the coconut plant and the entire coconut value chain have to offer.
From development of seedling nurseries, to planting plantations, processing the coconuts (and every part of the plant has value – water, copra aka meat, shell, husk, leaves, bark etc), trade, export, coconut art and crafts the opportunities seemed to be limitless.
You should actually consider investing in coconuts!
One of the high points of the seminar was the presentation given by a staff of LASCODA, Lagos state coconut development authority (never knew there was an agency like that) on what I call the A-Z of planting coconut plantations.
The gentleman gave us lots of tips and tricks that will assist particularly those interested in developing plantations, which seemed to be one of the major objectives of the seminar – to get people interested in either planting or investing in coconut plantations in Nigeria, nay Africa.
During the seminar we also enjoyed some snacks which included coconut candies and coconuts sweets (giving us a peep into some of the many uses of coconuts) whilst a few exhibitors already playing around within the coconut value chain were on ground to display their ‘cocowares‘. This included Nathaniel Hodonu a ‘coco craftsman’ from Badagry and Jam coconut foods, a coconut processing company based in Lagos, Nigeria.
The seminar rounded up with a brief photo shoot of the organisers and participants. Interestingly and quite thoughtfully, every participant was given a coconut seedling to plant and nurture till it bears fruit!
Thankfully, I was able to plant mine on wednesday at Mayor Farms.
I perceive that this is the beginning of a lifelong romance between myself and the coconut plant. More on coconuts to come (I am even thinking of starting a coconut blog). Kudos to FACC for the initiative.
In Appreciation to God, the creator of all things including the coconut plant, I leave you with the extended version of an age old nursery rhyme used by the LASCODA official to capture the beauty and value of the coconut plant at the beginning of his presentation.
All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their little wings.
The purple headed mountain,
the river running by,
the sunset and the morning,
that brightens up the sky.
The cold wind in the winter,
the pleasant summer sun,
the ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
The tall trees in the greenwood,
the meadows where we play,
the rushes by the water,
we gather every day.