Lagos to train 450 entrepreneurs in coconut ‘Waste to Wealth’ Initiative

Lagos State government said it is set to flag off the training of no fewer than 450 young entrepreneurs in a 5-week intensive training on the use of coconut waste in arts and craft under its ‘Waste to Wealth’ Initiative.

The State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, who made this known over the weekend in a statement made available to newsmen covering Alausa, Ikeja, explaining that the Initiative was in line with the state government’s developmental T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of making Lagos a 21st Century Economy as well as contributing to the tourism potentials of the state.

Olusanya, while stating that the objectives of achieving the goals of sustainable development and waste management were an outstanding global challenge, stressed that finding innovative solutions for effective management of waste remained difficult as the breakdown of waste required special processes that involved time, energy and expense.

She said coconuts have the potential to produce electricity, heat, fiberboards, organic fertilizer, animal feeds, fuel additives for cleaner emissions, eco-friendly cutlery, health drinks, and many more, but noted that most people saw coconut shells as waste and as such disposed of them off carelessly while others in the rural areas used them as firewood.

Besides, the commissioner said the shells can, however, be recycled into artistic products such as pieces of jewellery, cutlery, indoor and outdoor decorative items, among others, disclosing that an agency of government, the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) would commence the said training from Monday, July 13, 2020.

“The Lagos State government through 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 Governor 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 puts this fact to use, while also empowering the participants so that they can begin to immediately earn a living from skills they would be taught,” she asserted.

According to Olusanya, the training would hold in 5 batches of 5 days each, with 18 trainees per batch, beginning from Monday, 13th July 2020 to 14th August 2020 where participants would be taught how to make various artistic items and practicals, marketing and credit acquisition.

She stated further that the training would serve as a waste to wealth opportunity and a worthwhile venture for selected young entrepreneurs while fully entailing theoretical concepts and detailed practical sessions which when concluded, would optimize the use of coconut shells which constitutes 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 of creating wealth.

“The coconut shells which most people see as waste and dispose of 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. To achieve this, we are converting waste into valuable items for our use,” she explained.

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The commissioner added that the training was part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s contribution 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, saying this could bring back discarded waste products into economic use and lead to a reduction of pressure induced by waste on the environment.

Besides, she said such efforts would also create opportunities for income and employment generation in a relatively new area thereby enhancing economic activities.

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