The Lagos State Government will on Monday begin the training of new fewer than 450 young entrepreneurs for five weeks on the use of coconut waste in arts and craft under its waste to wealth initiative.
The State Acting Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, made this known over the weekend.
Olusanya explained that the waste to wealth 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 stated that the objectives of achieving the goals of sustainable development and waste management were outstanding global challenge, stressing that finding innovative solutions for effective management of waste remained difficult as the breakdown of waste required special processes that involves time, energy and expense.
According to her, coconuts have the potential to produce electricity, heat, fibreboards, organic fertiliser, animal feeds, fuel additives for cleaner emissions, eco-friendly cutlery, health drinks and many more.
The Acting Commissioner noted that most people saw coconut shells as waste and as such disposed them carelessly, while others in the rural areas use them as firewood, adding that the shells can however be recycled into artistic products such as jewelries, cutlery, indoor and outdoor decorative items and many more.
She said: “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.”
Olusanya noted that the training would hold in five batches of five days each, with 18 trainees per batch, beginning from July 13, 2020 and ending August 14, 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 optimise the use of coconut shells, which constitutes a major waste product in coconut processing.
She said: “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 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.”
Olusanya 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.
The Acting Commissioner 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 reduction of pressure induced by waste on the environment, while also creating opportunities for income and employment generation in a relatively new area thereby enhancing economic activities.