Coconut farming is the cultivation of coconut trees. Coconut farming is one of the most profitable cash farming venture a farmer can do. Coconuts, the primary derivative of coconut trees are consumed by almost everybody in the world. Coconut farming in Nigeria is done by farmers in the southern belt of the country. Though, coconut palm trees can grow in both the northern and southern parts of the country.
In my opinion, coconut farming is a venture that can provide LIFE LONG PENSION for any individual in Nigeria. Unlike cash crops like cocoa, cashew and oil palm where you need to spend a lot of money on pesticides to tackle diseases like fungal and pest infestations, coconut trees are very rugged and largely disease and maintenance free. All you need to do is to cultivate your coconut trees on a good farmland and weed frequently for good yield.
Young people, adults, pensioners and virtually anybody can start coconut farming for a life time of income. Most coconut trees last for between 40-80 years. Coconut tree is the tree of life, cultivate it and you can be sure of a lifetime of receiving income.
Economics of coconut farming in Nigeria
I once told one of my clients that about 70-80% of the coconuts consumed in Nigeria are imported from the Republic of Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast. My customer doubted the statistics until he confirmed from three different experts.
The market for coconut in Nigeria is huge unfortunately the local supply can only meet about 20% of the demand. Most of the coconut trees in Nigeria are aged and not producing well again.
If you cultivate 10 hectares of hybrid dwarf coconut trees, you will get about 200,000 coconuts. Each coconut goes for an average price of N80 – N100 in big cities in Nigeria.
A hybrid coconut tree can produce between 80-200 coconuts depending on your irrigation and fertilization practices. One hectare of a coconut farm can have about 200 coconut trees (rain fed). This means that you can harvest about 20,000 coconut trees from one hectare and earn revenue of N1.6 million – N2 million annually for the next 30-60 years depending on the variety plated.
A 10 hectare farmland of hybrid coconut can earn revenue of N16 million – N20 million annually for the next 30-60 years depending on the variety planted.
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The cost of running a coconut farm is minimal, coconut trees hardly need any pesticides, you only need to buy seedlings, add manure, fertilisers and weed.
To earn more revenue from coconut farming, you can process the coconuts into coconut milk, coconut water, coco coir and coconut oil etc. Coco coir is very pricey and used by vegetable farmers as a sterile medium for planting.
Some smart coconut farmers can grow grasses and fodders on their coconut farm and keep animals like cow and goats on the farm. The animals will have access to food and also provide manure for the coconut farmer. These animals can be sold for income when they are mature enough.
The urine of cows in particular can be fermented and used as insecticides and folia fertilizer.
Planting vegetables like pepper, watermelon and Ugwu can also provide good income for coconut farmers. These vegetables can be inter planted with the coconut trees when they are still young.
Coconuts and its byproducts can also be exported; this will make the farmer earn foreign exchange. An investor with capital can also set up a coconut refinery where coconut oil, milk, water and other byproducts will be processed and refined.
You can use your coconut farm as pension, plan for the payment of school fees of your children, plan for building a house or acquiring an asset and employment of labour.
Markets where coconuts can be sold in Nigeria
Coconuts can be sold in all markets in Nigeria. Go to Lagos, Ibadan, Akure, Abuja, Jos, Makurdi, Port Harcourt, Benin, Asaba, Kano, Kaduna and Owerri etc, you will see markets where coconuts are sold.
The biggest markets for coconuts in Nigeria are Lagos and Kano. The people in northern Nigeria consume a lot of coconuts. At some times of the year, over 20 truckloads of coconuts are sold in Kano every day. Lagos state is also a huge market for coconuts. Due to the large population of Lagos State, the demand for coconuts is very high. Most of the Nigerian traders visiting coconut farms in Ghana, Cotonou and Ivory Coast are northerners who import this commodity into Nigeria in huge volume. Coconuts are also hawked by young men and women around cities, towns and villages in Nigeria.
Coconuts can also be exported to other countries of the world. The demand for coconuts is increasing in Europe and Northern America.
Coconuts can also be sold to large supermarkets and other organized premium markets. The derivatives of coconut like coconut milk, coconut oil and coco coir can also be sold in big cities and towns in Nigeria.
Some big companies buy coconuts in bulk for processing into coconut flakes. These companies can use several tonnes of coconuts for processing into flakes every day.
If your farm is large with a substantial volume of coconuts harvest, coconut wholesalers and merchants can visit your farm to bulk buy the coconuts.
Coconut farming for mid aged/old people and pensioners
Coconut farming is a venture any mid-aged person, old people and pensioners can engage in. if you are a young adult, you can start planting coconut trees and you can be sure of securing your life time financially. I was once told of a 75 year old man who started planting coconut at the age of 21 years, today, he has over 200 hectares of coconut and he is financially secured. He sent all his children to schools in the United Kingdom from the proceeds of his coconut farms.
A mid-aged person nearing retirement can also engage in coconut farming to maintain his financially stand during retirement. Coconut farming can be a life-long pension plan if you know what you are doing. I often see new pensioners wasting their gratuity and savings on businesses which cannot stand the test of time.
A pensioner who invests in coconut farming is sure of recouping his investment and earning a life time salary in form of the proceeds from his coconut farm.
Coconut farming as investment for young people
Coconut farming can also be done by young people as investment. Instead of spending your money on entertainment and other social things, why don’t you invest your money on coconut farming and assure your life. Invest in coconut farming in your youthful years and you will never be poor throughout your lifetime.
If you just started your adult life or you just started working as a young person, you can start a coconut farm and secure your life with a life time pension. Your mates will envy you in 3-5 years’ time when you start harvesting and selling your coconuts.