Editor’s note: Mutiu Iyanda, the NAIJ.com partner blogger, in his latest piece explains easy ways to make millions by investing in coconut business.
More details in NAIJ.com’s step-by-step guide for guest bloggers
Among the different members of palm family, the tree is acknowledged as ‘tree of life’ due to its numerous contributions to people survival on earth. Every part of it can be used.
The status has also uplifted the tree within its family as one of the trees that have been named in over 80 different languages in Europe, Asia, Middle-East, and Africa.
In Nigeria, Yoruba called the tree Agbon while Hausa and Igbo ethnic groups see it as Kwakwa and Aku Oyibo respectively. Botanically, the ‘tree of life’ is known as cocos nucifera and Coconut in English Language.
The two names were derived from the Portuguese explorers’ description of the tree as a coco, or "grinning face" of a monkey because of its 3 dark holes at its base which look like a pop-eyed merry face.
This God-given valuable tree is growing almost everywhere in the world but majority of the world’s inhabitants have not exploit its full benefits and potential. No doubt, the tree is one of the most economically top ten tree crops in the world.
Before crude oil discovery in Oloibiri, coconut tree is one of the crops that gave Nigeria her needed income to finance significant developmental projects across the country. Lagos and other states in the southern region are known for coconut farming.
Information has it that the first coconut plantation in Nigeria was established in 1876 at Topo Island, Badagry Lagos state. Lagos state produces 70% of coconut in Nigeria.
Despite ranking Nigeria as 18th producing country in the world, many Nigerians are yet to realise that they can ‘flow in million’ with the five most neglected opportunities associated with the tree.
These are coconut water, coconut oil, coconut meat, coconut milk and coconut flour, and christened as ‘flow in million ’flo-flour, o-oil, w-water, m-meat, and m-milk.’
The forgotten opportunities
1. Coconut water
It is extracted from young, green coconuts that have not reached maturity. It contains electrolytes, and has more potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium than most juices – for less calories.
2. Coconut oil
This is the most favoured opportunity from coconut tree. It is being duped as the most significant because it is the healthiest oil available for human consumption and the best means of reaping all the health benefits of the coconut.
It solves many health related issues within the body and its outside. Coconut oil helps people lose body fat, get leaner, and improve their cholesterol levels, hair quality and strength. It can also be used as wood polish for furniture at home.
3. Coconut meat
This is the thick white lining that covers the inside of the coconut shell. It contains MCTs like coconut oil, in addition to vitamins A and E, polyphenols, and phytosterols – all of which work together to decrease levels of LDL cholesterol. Coconut meat can be eaten raw, cooked, or toasted. Add it to smoothies, make ice cream with it, or combine it with fresh fruit.
4. Coconut flour
This can be used as a flour substitute, or in addition to other types of flour in recipes. It packs a whopping 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons, and lowers the glycemic index in baked goods (which is a plus for those with diabetes).
Coconut flour is grain and gluten-free, making it an excellent choice for those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergies. Coconut flour is made from ground and dried coconut meat. The product is made completely of pure coconut.
The milk must be separated from the meat in order to produce the dry flour. Once the separation is complete the meat baked at a low temperature to dry it out and create a powdery flour made entirely of coconut.
5. Coconut milk
Not to be confused with coconut water, this is the meat pulped with water to make a creamy texture similar to cow’s milk. The taste, consistency, and health benefits make it a great milk substitute (and of course, it is lactose-free).
Would you rather flow-in-million with ‘tree of life’?
In the last decade, the demand for coconuts has grown exponentially to 500%. This has been linked to most of the benefits highlighted earlier. For instance, coconut oil and water are in high demand by companies in Europe and other developed countries that rely on the tree to produce natural products such as soaps, toothpastes among others.
In Nigeria too, companies have also realised that the tree cannot be neglected whenever they intend to produce or make skincare products, household cleaners, toys, instruments, furniture, housing, bowls, utensils, lighting fixtures, baskets, utility boxes, gardening planters, mattresses, draperies, upholstery, chicken feed, carbon-based water filters, and bio-diesel fuels.
Like other flour used for making bread, pancakes, recipes, cake and Fufu, coconut flour is also useful and more nutritious. The high demand for the flour globally is as a result of people’s preference for ready-to-eat snack foods that are gluten-free and increasing awareness about health benefits of the flour.
According to the Future Market Insights’ latest report on the global coconut flour market, by the end of 2026, around 850.8
Thousand Tonnes of coconut flour is expected to be consumed across the globe. Coconut flour has emerged as a good alternative for wheat flour.
“In recent past coconut flour has also seen a surge in its sales, owing to the rising demand for functional flour. Coconut flour products are surging in the market as an alternative for baking ingredients in the United States and Europe.
"It is gaining traction amongst consumers during festival seasons such as Christmas and New Year Eve in Europe. The ingredient is being added to supplement healthy diets owing to its benefits such as antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.”
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According to recent market reports, coconut milk global market grew at 15.4% in 2016 and expected to remain same till 2020 while coconut water is growing at 23.48% within the same period.
In its recent report on coconut global market, Technavio predicts that the global vir*gin coconut oil market would grow steadily at a CAGR of around 10% by 2021. One of the key factors influencing growth is the increasing investments in the global vir..gin coconut oil market.
Another report has also indicated that increasing consumer spending on functional food and beverages as well as rising health consciousness of people in terms of proper nourishment of skin and hair is anticipated to strengthen the demand for vir*gin coconut oil in the next 7 years.
Our analysis has shown that the global price of coconut oil per metric ton would increase from $1,929.54 in July, 2017 to $2,717.67 by December, 2017. This indicates 7.09% growth and signifies huge opportunity for interested Nigerians. Coconut meat market is also growing steadily.
NAIJ.com had previously reported on how agricultural waste conversion could help fix Nigeria’s power supply.
Mutiu is a research and communications professional. He has a special interest in qualitative and quantitative methods of finding solutions to social and communication issues.
He currently works with Enterprations Limited, a management consulting company, which also provides a platform for working class professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs to own their business.
Enterprations offers strategic tools such as business plan, growth plan and turnaround plan among others for established and aspiring businesses.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of NAIJ.com.
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