Special adviser on food security, Hon. Ganiyu Sanni Okanlawon, said the production of the bread demonstrated the state government’s commitment to support food availability for the country’s 22m populace, as well as promote the coconut value chain in the region.
Coconut is a cash crop grown in 22 of Nigeria’s 36 states, with Lagos State having the largest production area.
“The development [of the coconut bread] is a step in the right direction in realizing the full potential derivable from coconut and making the state a food secured place,” said Sanni Okanlawon at the launch of the Eko Coconut Bread.
LASCODA, based in the coastal town of Badagry and local government area (LGA) in Lagos State, Nigeria, was set up to improve the socioeconomic conditions of coconut growers and processors in the state.
According to Oladeji Alao, GM of LASCODA, about 300 by-products are generated from the fruit, thus promoting employment and serving as a wealth generation for the state and the country at large.
Besides its economic benefits, plantations of the coconut palm also stabilize the soil and could prevent coastal erosion and ocean surge.
Despite its scientifically proven health benefits, consumption of coconut is still low in Nigeria, said Sanni Okanlawon.
The introduction of coconut in bread production will go a long way in ensuring a higher consumption of the fruit, he said.
The State has not confirmed the price of the Eko Coconut Bread, but, according to news reports, Lagosians are hoping it will be for N200 or less ($0.85).
Nigeria's standing in the world coconut market
The global coconut market is valued around $4bn, and Nigeria is the third largest producer in Africa, and 18th in the world, producing more than 265,000 tons annually, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Lagos itself has about 2m coconut trees and its annual production is 86m nuts, valued at about N2.5bn ($71m)
The crop serves as a raw material for numerous industries, such as food and beverage, pharma and fuel.
Coir (fiber from coconut husk) is used in making ropes, mats, brushes, sacks and caulking for boats, while the fronds (leaves) are used for brooms, cooking skewers or burnt to ash to yield lime. Husk and shells are a source of charcoal and are used for fuel.
Despite economic numbers showing recession, Nigeria’s agricultural sector reached an all-time high of N500m ($14.2m) in the third quarter of 2016 from a record low of N260m ($7.3m) in the first quarter of 2010.