African Coconut Heritage Initiative (AGUNKEFEST) has flagged off the Coconut Festival with planting of 500 seedlings to Schools and other stakeholders in Badagry.
Speaking shortly after the planting, Prince Mesi Doheto, the President, AGUNKEFEST, said: “The flag off ceremony of the festival was to begin Coconut Planting during the rainy season.
“The festival is normally held in November but we decided to separate the coconut planting of this year to kickstart the festival. This year’s flag off ceremony, we brought in students from different schools in Badagry because we want to initiate them into planting.
“We discovered that many Schools in Badagry have land and this is a big opportunity for us to give them the seedlings so that they can plant them in their school environment. We are also catching them young and inculcating the idea of saving the environment and also giving the school economic power because in some year’s time, the coconut will begin to bear fruits,” he said.
According to him, twenty (20) Schools- Ten (10) primary and ten (10) secondary schools were selected for the programme. We gave each of the school 10 seedlings each to plant in their school, making 200 seedlings. AGUNKEFEST team will visit their schools by November to monitor how they are growing.
“We also donated another 100 seedlings to the Association of Coconut Growers (ACG) being the stakeholders in the sector. The Initiative also planted some seedlings in some areas in Badagry where there are spaces for the crop to grow healthy,” he said.
The President said that the Coconut festival would come up between Nov.23 and 25, adding that many important personalities would be invited from all walks of life.
In his speech, Dr Victor Adangbe, the Director Research, Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) said: “With regards to the yearning of the coconut stakeholder’s research is actively ongoing. The research is going on to produce improved yielding planting materials through disease resistance planting materials.
“We are also training farmers on effective field management practices and also on nursery management practices,” he said.
Prince Mustapha Ademola, the Coordinator, AGUNKEFEST, said that Coconut trees play an important role in controlling the economy of a nation. The seeds are constantly in demand because the fruit is a raw material for many major industries.
He urged Nigerians to always plant the crop in their environment.