Members of the Lagos State Coconut Sellers and Traders Association in Badagry have appealed to the state government to upgrade the Agbalata Coconut Market to a modern market.
The Chairman of the association, Amos Gbeliho, made the plea yesterday, during a meeting with representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO-UN/UNIDO) and the Lagos State Government in Badagry.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team was in Badagry to conduct a one month field survey for Coconut Value Chain Analysis as part of the on-going collaboration between FAO-UN/UNIDO.
The Lagos State Government and the FAO-UN had in November 2021, signed a $200,000 Unilateral Trust Fund Agreement for the development of the coconut value chain.
The collaboration is aimed at developing the coconut value chain, through accelerated production, processing, commercialisation and utilisation.
The agreement which will run for six months will see FAO providing technical assistance for the inception/value chain analysis phase of the intervention.
Gbeliho said the present state of the more than 45 years old market, situated on an acre of land, was not befitting and needed urgent attention.
He noted that the market was constructed by farmers through personal efforts and contributions, adding that the structure was now old and has become too small to accommodate the growing trade.
He said the market presently lacks basic amenities like toilet, office space, parking lots, perimeter fencing and security gate, adding that traders are exposed to security threats from miscreants.
He listed other challenges confronting the crop to include lack of financial support, unproductive old groove, illegal levies, impoundment of goods by the Nigeria Customs Service, insecurity and lack of capacity.
According to him, coconut trade is a huge business that generates billions of Naira for the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) without adequate attention from the government.
Gbeliho said: “This market was constructed over 40 years ago by farmers in Badagry, and we have not received any support from the government to develop the value chain.
“Whenever it rains, it is always a big problem for us; we will be running helter-skelter to protect the coconuts because they do not like water.
“This is a multi-billion naira venture that needs federal and state governments’ support.
“We are appealing to the government to assist us with a modern market in Badagry. The volume of transactions in this market daily is over N50 million.”
He also urged the government to be committed to reviving the old coconut plantation groove in order to boost production.
We are appealing to the government to assist us with a modern market in Badagry. The volume of transaction in this market daily is over N50 million.
FAO-UN Country Officer, Mrs Adeola Akinrinlola, who led the team said they were in Badagry to collect data through key informant’s interviews, surveys, actor interviews, focus group discussions and analyses.
Akinrinlola assured the team will visit coconut producing communities, processors, marketers and other value chain actors’ locations in Lagos.
“We are here to assess the coconut value chain, carry out interviews, and find out what the challenges are so as to make recommendations to the appropriate authorities.
“The FAO-UN and the Lagos State Government are collaborating on the survey. The outcome of this project will lead to a bigger project but we need information to be able to do that.
“We want to know the challenges confronting the farmers, marketers, producers, processors and transporters,” she said.
A Consultant for the survey, Dr Essien Akpan, said the scope of the project would be extended to Ojo, Ikorodu, Epe, Ibeju Lekki and Ikeja.