The thriving Coconut business in Nigeria - BLUEPRINT
SEPTEMBER 14, 2021
In today’s Nigeria, coconut business is lucrative, either by reselling or packaging. Apart from its nutritional benefits, it is readily available in the market. It is easy to set up depending on location and how you intend to run the business, ADEOLA TUKURU reports.
For its smallness, sellers are often found at street corners while some put theirs in carts and move from street to street. Yet, there are some entrepreneurs that have moved the trade a bit higher, selling coconuts in groceries stores.
One unique thing about selling coconut is that the business can be run from one’s home on full time or on part-time basis depending on choice and clients.
Location of business
Madam Aduni Oyetayo, 39 who hails from Ekiti state explained to Business Starter that one may choose to be stationed at a location for buyers to come to you, while the itinerant seller movies from place to place seeking for buyers.
Operating at this level, sellers target the highbrow areas, where people appreciate fruits.
Unlike before, where coconut selling was solely left with the itinerant sellers, grocery stores are springing up in their numbers in different parts of the country, especially in highbrow areas of most big cities selling where Coconut is also sold.
Distribution of Coconut
She explained that all that is required is for the small-scale traders or middle men to get to the suppliers and buy, for onward distribution to the final consumers, which may be schools, restaurants, hotels, individuals etc.
Coconut which is among the classes of fruit is a business that rakes in millions of Naira to the farmer, sellers and organisations in the distribution chain.
“Selling Coconut is a big business; you need to know where to source them and how to preserve them to make it in the business. It is a business that can be started small based on your capital.”
How she gets her Coconut
Madam Aduni, as she is popularly known, says the market is wide. “All I need to do is to go to the depot, where the farmers bring them from Ondo state.
“We get the coconut cheaper, clean them up and package for either the grocery stores or the open markets.
“I have been in this business for the past 8 years, I do not regret entering the business, because it has paid my bills and sustained my family. I make enough money and have to get people to sell for me at different locations” she noted.
Revealing how she gets the supply of Coconuts from local farmers in Ondo and, sometimes, from Benue.
According to her, coconuts are an important part of a healthy diet.
She said Coconut are naturally low in calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol and they keep the body healthy and could help lower the risk of many illnesses like stroke, heart attack, certain cancers, kidney stones and bone loss.
“These are some of the illnesses Nigerians may not want to be associated with and as such depend on fruits to prevent them.
Gains in business
“So, the market is huge and I must say I have people that come regularly for supply and there are no dull moments, especially during fasting periods, where I make between N30,000 to N40,000 within three months.
How she started
Recounting how she started, Aduni told this reporter that: “I started selling coconut 6 years ago in a small container but today, I do not see any business better than it. As you can see that I have move from that level to a bigger stall. I pay middlemen that go to the farmers directly; so I buy right from the source.
“The business is lucrative and chances are if there are no damages, you have a quick turnover and smile regularly to the bank.
“The market is huge, as you can see in the chain of distribution right from the people that bring the foil, nylon wrappers to the crates and cartons used for the package. It is a business Nigerians are yet to properly go into,” she further said.
Harnessing its potentials
The Minister of State Industry Trade & Investment, Marian Katagum, has advised coconut farmers to harness the global potential market for coconut in the country, which she said is in excess of $6 billion.
The minister said this while delivering her keynote address at the 2021 Coconut planting season flag off tagged “Actualizing Coconut Sufficiency in Nigeria”, held in Abuja on Tuesday.
Katagum said coconut is a commodity with lots of economic, medicinal and nutritional value and the market for it in Nigeria is huge.
“Unfortunately, the local supply can only meet about 20 per cent of the demand, hence the need to urgently address the supply side constraints,” she said.
“The global market for the coconut is more than $6 billion, which means that the opportunities are huge.
“Therefore, as the 18th largest world producer of coconuts, we must work harder to increase our market share, and the best strategy is to start cultivation of the commodity for improved yield.”
Our campaign, “One Family, Three Coconut Trees” is strategic, and you must sustain the vision,” Mrs Katagum said.
According to her, Nigeria needs more coconut plantations and industries to support the already existing ones.
“Without doubt, we need more coconut plantations and industries to support the few that are already existing in states like Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Rivers and so on.
“The Nigerian Coconut Industry can be given a boost with more investment, so that it can provide jobs to thousands of unemployed youths, through its numerous value chains,” she added.
She stressed that the government is committed to the development of the coconut sub-sector and would work to create effective support systems for the growth of the commodity.
“As a Ministry, we are committed to supporting activities that will help harness the immense benefits of coconut to the economy, which is why the Ministry nurtured and formed the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN).
“This was done to create a value chain for both local and international consumption of the commodity, especially now that the export market is growing appreciably.
“To achieve this, it is imperative to build the capacity of the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, to scale up their capacity to efficiently manage the coconut business in Nigeria,” she said.
Also speaking at the event, the President, National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Nma Okoroji, said the Nigerian coconut industry is 80 per cent untapped with massive importation, even though the industry has the potential to generate foreign exchange more than the current crude oil earnings and boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Currently, the production output of de-husked nuts in Nigeria is 257,520 metric tonnes which are used in the production of fewer than 1,500 tonnes of coconut oil.
“That is the critical point why the 2021 coconut planting season flag-off is aimed to achieve the actualisation of coconut sufficiency in Nigeria (COSIN) through the establishment of coconut tree planting the establishment of 10,000 square meters of coconut farms in all coconut viable states and 1 family 3 coconut tree initiative,” Okoroji said.
According to her, “the largest producers in the world are Indonesia and the Philippines while Tanzania ranks the highest in Africa.”
“The coconut industry has an inelastic value chain that transcends health benefits, employment generation for youth and women, family economic empowerment, medical industry, furniture, domestic kits and National income to boost our Gross Domestic Product, the need for a healthy and wealthy living has increased the consciousness of the economic potentials of and the demand is multiplying annually,” she added.
How to invest in coconut
She said: “With the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, agri business ideas can create a livelihood for you and Coconut farming is one of them.
“You no longer need to moan about unemployment in the country or the lack of opportunities in the country.
“You can start a highly profitable coconut business in Nigeria and get a good return on your investment. However, you will need access to large land to enable you to take it to commercial standards.”