The Lagos State government and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Friday signed a $200,000 Unilateral Trust Fund Agreement to grow the coconut value chain in the state.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, signed the agreement on behalf of the state government while FAO’s official in Nigeria, Dr. Fred Kafeero, represented the United Nations agency at the ceremony.
The state government will contribute $150,000 to the project, while FAO will provide $50,000.
In her address at the ceremony, Olusanya said the project would run for the next six months with FAO providing technical and financial assistance for the inception and value chain analysis phase of the intervention.
She said the project underscores the commitment of the government to the restoration of coconut as the foremost cash crop in the state.
The commissioner noted that the commitment was evident in the prominence given to the crop in the official crest of the state, as it served as pillars of support and protection for other contents on the crest.
Olusanya said: “It is, therefore, my fervent hope that the partnership we are activating today will surely unleash the economic, environmental and nutritional potential in the coconut value chain in the state.
“The partnership will be on a sustainable basis, as multiple strategies both locally and internationally along with the up, mid and down streams of the value chain, will be deployed to promote production, processing, utilisation, and commercialisation.
“This will be done using the Accelerator for Agriculture and Agro-industry Development and Innovation Plus (3ADI+) Approach as proposed by the FAO-UN.
“On behalf of the governor and good people of Lagos State, I warmly express our appreciation to the FAO-UN for its interest in Lagos State and coconut value chain development in particular.”
Kafeero commended the Lagos State government for being the first state to create a unilateral trust fund in the country, saying that it had set an example for other states.