A Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Agriculture Matters, Honourable (Chief) Aneke Ifemeni, has declared the willingness of coconut farmers in the state to partner with governnent for the establishment of a Coconut Research Institute.
Honourable Ifemeni made the declaration on Wednesday in Asaba at the celebration of the 2020 Would Coconut Day.
The SSA pledged to make land available for the siting of the Institute, which he said would benefit the state and the country at large in view of the immense economic benefit derivable from coconut.
He also spoke on the desire of coconut farmers in the state to have a Coconut Development Agency to effectively coordinate the production, processing and marketing of coconut, urging the governnent to think along that line in order to encourage the growth of the economic tree.
Honourable Ifemeni said the National Association of Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers, Delta State chapter, had developed a four – year work plan, including capacity development and awareness campaign Programmes, establishment of improved variety and hybrid seedlings banks, established of 5,000 hectares of coconut plantation in 22 states of the federation and establishment of processing hubs in the six geo – political zones in Nigeria, among others.
The State Coordinator of the National Association of Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers, NACOPPMAN, Mrs Gloria Umukotete, outlined the health, economic, fashion, artistic and security benefits of coconut, insisting that it remained a tree every Deltan and indeed every Nigerian should plant.
Mrs Umukotete listed the two varieties of coconut, adding that the hybrid could be harvested in three years.
She urged the state government to encourage coconut farming, describing it as a money spinner.
The event, which featured lectures, goodwill messages and the cutting of cake, was attended by emminent personalities, including the State Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Sir Richard Asenime, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Delta State University, Professor Lawrence Bratte, the Head of Department, Agronomy, Forestory and Wildlife, Professor Fidelis Emuh, a representative of the Standards Organization of Nigeria, Egbo Nnenne and a renowned tomatoes farmer in the state, Honourable Paul Okpue.