By Oludele Taiwo
The General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA), Dapo Olakunleyin, has stressed the need to plant more coconut trees to keep up with the growing demand and to protect the environment. He stated this during the flag-off of the planting of 1,000 coconut seedlings on Lagos coastline to rebuild the Atlantic green walls, an initiative of the Rotary Club of Eko Atlantic in partnership with LASCODA. He said about 180 kilometres from Ibeju-Lekki to Badagry, Seme border, would be rebuilt under the partnership and that the collaboration was to further promote sustainable coconut production, utilisation and commercialisation in the state.
“When we talk about production that is where the Rotary Club has come in today. A lot of coconut trees along our beaches are old and not performing the function that they are supposed to perform and that is why Rotary Club is coming in to build what we call a green wall. When you look from Badagry to Ibeju-Lekki, there is this coastline which we call green wall and coconut is along this green wall. When you see this green wall, practically, they have collapsed because the coconut trees are old and are going. That is what we are inaugurating today to rebuild the Atlantic green wall”, he said. He thereby commended the club for starting the initiative, adding that it would have a greater impact on society in the next five years.
“We are using this opportunity to call on non-governmental organisations and the private sector to come to the aid of the Lagos State government to build this wall back because the government cannot do it alone. We are starting this exercise today with the private beaches, we will be going to other beaches. Here alone, we are planting 200 coconut seedlings in the Oniru private beach and we will be extending to other beaches in the area”, he said. The President, Rotary Club of Eko Atlantic, Rotarian Gboyega Bada, while speaking at the flag-off of the exercise said they had begun planting of 1,000 coconut seedlings on Lagos coastline to rebuild the Atlantic green walls, stressing that the exercise was being carried out with 15 other Rotary clubs in Lagos to bring back the glory of coconut as the only cash crop produced in the state.
He said that the collaboration would protect the environment, stating that no fewer than 10,000 seedlings would be planted yearly by the club to promote coconut as a cash crop. Bada noted that the club would partner LASCODA on the distribution and planting of coconut seedlings in public schools. He stated that the club had also sought the approval of the Lagos State Ministry of Education to plant coconut in all primary and secondary schools, adding that the move was a way of re-introducing coconut back to the new generation right from school. The District Governor, Rotarian Omotunde Lawson, in her remarks said that Rotary Club would continue to partner with the government to bring about service and development to the general public.
She said that the partnership with LASCODA was in line with one of the seven core pillars of the club which is protecting the environment. “The importance, beauty and ambience of coconut cannot be over emphasised, as it will improve and provide means of livelihood to the people in this community. We are happy to be part of this great initiative in Lagos State”, she said. The Oniru of lruland, Oba Gbolahan Lawal, commended the initiative and implored the club to ensure that the coconut was properly maintained to reach its maturity stage. The monarch, who was represented by Baale of Itinri Community, in Victoria Island, Chief Waisu Okoya, urged them to extend the exercise to all other communities in the coastline. Also, the Assistant District Governor overseeing the activities of Rotary Club of Eko Atlantic, Rotarian Olayinka Adeosun, said a group of people within the community had been selected to maintain, monitor and nurture the crop.