Coconut trees may soon go into extinction in Lagos State, if residents failed to desist from cutting the trees without replanting.
Dr Olayiwole Onasanya, Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Agriculture, gave the warning during the World Coconut Day Celebration organised by the African Coconut Heritage Initiatives in Badagry, Lagos.
Onasanya, represented by Mr Dapo Olakulehin, the General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), said that Marina was full of coconut trees in 1960 and 70s, “but now, there is no coconut tree in that place again.’’
“So, if we don’t want anything like that to happen, we must rise up and start planting coconut tree now.
“People are cutting the trees, fine; I won’t say they should not, because if a Coconut tree is not producing up to 100 nuts in a year, this means it outgrown its usefulness, they can cut it.
“What we are saying is that if you cut one plant one back. If some people did not plant the one that you cut, you cannot get the one you are cutting.
“So, plant another one for the generation that will come,” he said.
Prince Doheto Mesi, the President, African Coconut Heritage Initiatives, an NGO, said that Nigeria was ranked 17th Coconut producer in the world.
According to Mesi, Nigeria is producing about 348,000 metric tonnes of coconut yearly out of one million tonnes, creating a deficit of 616,000 metric tonnes.
“As a nation, this should be a source of worry for all stakeholders and also provide a huge opportunity for massive investments in the coconut subsector in Nigeria.
“It calls for concerted efforts to reverse the trend positively,” he said.