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Lagos Govt. shortlists 450 entrepreneurs for coconut’s waste-to-wealth training

By Monsuru Olowoopejo

The Lagos State Government has concluded plans to train no fewer than 450 young entrepreneurs on use of coconut waste for arts and craft and boost tourism potentials of the state.

It said that the aim was to ensure effective waste management which has remained difficult as the breakdown of waste requires special processes that involve time, energy, and expenses.

The Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, who disclosed this on Sunday, said that the training would be organised under the state government’s waste-to-wealth initiative which was part of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of making Lagos a 21st Century economy.

“The objectives of achieving the goals of sustainable development and waste management are outstanding global challenges,” she said.

”Most people see coconut shells as waste and as such dispose them carelessly while others in the rural areas use them as firewood.

”The shells, however, can be recycled into artistic products such as jewellry, cutlery, indoor and outdoor decorative items, and many more,” the commissioner added.

She stated that coconuts had potentials to produce electricity, heat, fiberboards, organic fertilizer, animal feeds, fuel additives for cleaner emissions, eco-friendly cutlery, health drinks, and many more.

“The state government through the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) is commencing a five-week training on the use of coconut waste in arts and craft.

“It is a waste -to-wealth initiative in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of the Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration. The coconut tree, also known as the tree of life, is said to have no single part of it wasted.

“This training will put this fact to use, while it will also be empowering the participants so that they can begin to immediately earn a living from skills they will be taught,” she said.

Olusanya said that the training would hold in five batches of five days’ each, with 18 trainees per batch, beginning from July 13 to Aug.14, 2020.

She said that the participants would be taught how to make various artistic items and go through practicals, marketing, and credit acquisitions.

The commissioner said that the training would serve as a waste -to -wealth opportunity and a worthwhile venture for selected young entrepreneurs and that it would fully entail theoretical concepts and detailed practical sessions.

”When concluded, it will optimise the use of coconut shells which constitute a major waste product in coconut processing. Coconut is abundant in our country, Nigeria, and consumed by most people but we are not aware of its great potential for creating wealth.

“The coconut shells which most people see as waste and dispose them improperly can be recycled into artistic products. This also helps in sustaining the environment. As we are acquiring skills, we are also learning to sustain our environment.

“Sustainability of the environment is our goal and to achieve this, we are converting waste into valuable items for our use,” the commissioner said.

Olusanya said that the training was part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s contributions to the development of the tourism sector in the state as the production of some of the artistic products from coconut shells would reflect the rich cultural heritage of the people.

She encouraged other sectors where waste can be recycled to embrace the waste to wealth initiative as it could bring back discarded waste products into economic use and lead to the reduction of pressure induced by waste on the environment.

The commissioner also said that it would also create opportunities for income and employment generation in a relatively new area, thereby enhancing economic activities.

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