22nd October, 2021
By Olayinka Olawale
Lagos State Government has acquired 750 hectares of farmland at Igbodu in the Epe Local Government Area of the state for feedlots.
Ms Abisola Olusanya, the Commissioner for Agriculture, disclosed this on Friday at the inauguration ceremony of the perimeter fencing of farm settlements/estates and agricultural land in the state.
The commissioner, who was represented by Dr Rasheed Macaulay, Director, Veterinary Services, said that the feedlots were under construction and would soon begin operations.
“I am highly delighted to be part of history on this day for the official inauguration of using coconut trees for the perimeter fencing of farm estates, farm settlements and agricultural lands in Lagos State.
“The importance that Lagos State attaches to this crop is evident in the fact that her crest or official emblem is anchored by two coconut trees, thus describing coconut as the tree of Lagos.
“The theme of this year’s World Food Day celebration is “Our Actions Are Our Future: Better Productivity, Better Nutrition and Better Environment for a Better Life”, she said.
“By nature, coconut is a crop of the future. Even with the technology available, the minimum gestation period is between three and five years with the ability to continue fruiting for more than 80 years after planting.
“In addition, mixing coconut value chain with any other farming activities like livestock, fisheries or other crops or planting is solely ornamental.
“The purpose is generally considered as one of the ways to create wealth and generate employment thus making room for optimal utilisation of resources,” she said.
Olusanya said that for the coconut value chain to fully unleash it’s potential the state is collaborating with the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) through a Unilateral Trust Fund (UTF) arrangement.
According to her, the collaboration is for the value chain to contribute to the sustainable development of the state in terms of wealth creation, health benefits and mitigation of climate change.
She noted that the implementation of the inception or value chain analysis would commence by the first week of November 2021.
She added that the outcome was expected to give birth to directional, specific and coordinated interventions in the coconut value chain by FAO, UNIDO and other international development agencies that have shown interest in the sector.
Meanwhile, she urged operators of farm estates, settlements and agricultural lands across the state to employ this technology and take the opportunity of subsidised coconut seedlings for this purpose.
“Just as we are well aware of the nutritional importance of coconut, it is also important to note that coconut trees play a big role in mitigating the impacts of climate change and global warming.
“Coconut trees are natural windbreakers and to reduce erosion. Thus, coconut speaks well to productivity, nutrition and environment for a better life than other agricultural value chains,’’ she said.
Olusanya said that the occasion served as a timely wake-up call and an opportunity to plant coconut trees as much as space permits to achieve the objective of 10 million active coconut trees from now till 2026.
“There is no better place to start this campaign than within existing farm settlements and estates and agricultural lands in the state with a proven technology such as the use of coconut trees for perimeter fencing.
“To encourage the operators of farm settlements/estates and agricultural lands to embrace this technology, the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) has been directed to make the seedlings available at subsidised rates,” she said.