Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera L.) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family) and the only species of the genus Cocos. Coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. A drupe is a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed (like a peach or olive) and comes from the word “drupa” meaning overripe olive. Such as other drupe fruits, it has three layers: exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp.  The exocarp and mesocarp make up the husk of the coconut. The mesocarp or "shell" thus exposed is the hardest part of the coconut and is composed of fibers called coir. The shell has three germination pores (stoma) or eyes that are clearly visible on its outside surface once the husk is removed. The endocarp is the hard, woody layer that surrounds the seed. It is a large palm, a perennial crop classified as a fibrous one-seeded drupe, growing up to 30 meters (98 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4-6 meters (13-20 ft) long and pinnate 60-90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly, leaving the trunk smooth.
Coconut palm is not indigenous to Nigerian agriculture but of the humid tropics; Although it is known to grow under diverse types of climate and is highly adaptable, are usually grown along the sea coast and in plain grounds, with the aid of its husky exocarp, they can float on the ocean for months and still germinate when beached, hence they may have arisen anywhere between the eastern Indian and western Pacific oceans. Prior to the age of discovery, coconuts were dispersed from east Africa to the Pacific coast of Panama. Coconuts provided the only source of food and water on many of the atolls across the equatorial Pacific and the natural distribution of coconut may have influenced the initial colonization of the region. It is clear that there were no coconut palms along the east coast of the Americas, western Africa, or the Caribbean prior to European exploration in the sixteenth century. 
i. Tall and
Most commercial plantings use high yielding varieties. Many varieties of coconuts C. nucifera are being cultivated in many countries. These vary by the taste of the coconut water and color of the fruit, as well as other genetic factors, some of them includes:
i. Dwarf yellow coconut
ii. Dwarf orange coconut
iii. Golden Malay coconut
iv. Dwarf green coconut
v. Fiji Dwarf (Niu Leka)
vi. Green Malay coconut
vii. Nawassi coconut
viii. Yellow Malay coconut.
Genetically Improved Varieties
There have been developments of varieties of coconut which yield 80-100 nuts per palm per year under proper management as against 30-45 nuts from the unimproved coconut. Below are some of the varieties prevalent in Nigeria and there yields per relative yields per year;
i. West African Tall: This variety produces 80-100 nuts/palm/year with an estimated copra yield of 3.3 metric tons per hectare per year.
ii. Dwarf Green: This flowers 3-4 years after yield establishment and produces 81 nuts/palm/year.
iii. Hybrid Coconut: This is a cross between the dwarf variety and the tall. The hybrid flowers 5 years after planting and produces 94 nuts/palm/year with an estimated copra yield of 3.5 tonnes/ha/year.
iv. Malayan Dwarf Yellow: This variety is used mainly for ornamental purposes. It is an introduction from Malaysia which flowers 3 years after planting and produces 84 nuts/palm/year with an estimated copra yield of 2.1 tonnes/ha/year.
v. Malayan Dwarf Red: This is also an introduction from Malaysia. It flowers about 3 years after field planting and produces 91 nuts/palm/year with estimated copra yield of 2.3 tonnes/ ha/year. This variety is also mainly used for ornamental purposes. 
Coconut is one of the most important and useful palms in the world, with Indonesia, Philippines and India respectively ranking as the Topmost producers of coconut in the world. It is fondly referred to as the “tree of life” for its important role in smallholders’ livelihoods as a direct source of cash income, nutrition and materials (Warner, 2007). In the Nigerian Agricultural industries, there are potentials to make major contributions to the economic and industrial development of the nation, especially with the wild range of industrial application of most of the produce like Coconut. For a crop not indigenous to Nigeria, she is blessed with coconut trees which could be harnessed for industrial development through which the quality and standard of living of the people can be improved.
Coconut occupies a pre-eminent position in the Nigerian economy in providing employment to a large number of people living in the coconut belt if special consideration is given to its cultivation.
1. There will be a reduction in the unemployed population if the opportunities provided by the numerous application of the coconut palm are fully tapped.
2. The planting, harvesting and processing of the coconut will not only provide business opportunities to thousands of people in the region where it is cultivated, it will also offer a wide range of investment opportunities that are economically attractive to the people at home and abroad.
3. The role of coconut in food production, foreign exchange earnings, raw materials for industries, income and employment generation to millions of Nigerians including women and young people make it a very crucial asset for National Economic Development.
4. It is an important crop in the agrarian economy of many countries of the world providing food, drink, and shelter. 
Coconuts are known for their versatility ranging from food to cosmetics. They form a regular part of the diets of many people in the tropics and subtropics. Coconuts are distinct from other fruits for their endosperm containing a large quantity of water (also called "milk"), and when immature, may be harvested for the potable coconut water. When mature, they can be used as seed nuts or processed for oil, charcoal from the hard shell.
The uses of coconut varies and ranges from being used as food, industrially, decorative purposes etc.
Some of its uses include;
i. For the making of candies
ii. For cooking (coconut rice)
iii. For drinks. (coconut water)
iv. As fuel word (the mesocarp, Husk)
v. For decorations
v. For making coconut oil (Copra) e.t.c
The selected land should be completely cleared ensuring minimal disturbance of the topsoil layer. Compacted soils should be ploughed and stumps removed to provide adequate drainage. Land areas with rocks, clayey soils and water logged areas should not be used. The field borders should be established along with fence lines, access roads, bridges, crossings, main drains, and channels, ponds or wells for irrigation and other infrastructure to ensure proper supply of moisture.
The ideal soil conditions for better growth and performance of the palm are loose well-drained soils about 50 - 100 cm deep with good water holding capacity. However, coconut can be grown under different soil types such as loamy, lateritic, coastal sandy, alluvial, clayey and reclaimed soils of marshy lowlands.
The coconut is a plant that is largely dependent on the presence and use of water, hence, the planting is done at the beginning of the rainy season. The propagation of coconut is mostly done using seedlings which are grown and nurtured in a Nursery. The nursery should be planned with respect to the seasonal changes. Seedlings should be 8 - 10 months of age before transplanting for better growth and development. They are planted immediately or at least 3 days after removal from the nursery to avoid mortality (Santos et al., 1996).
For each planting hole, an area of soil 1 m in circumference is cleared of all vegetation and levelled. In planting the seedlings, the holes should be dug 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.3m for well fertile soils and in marginal soils, holes 0.9 x 0.9 x 0.9m are recommended. When planting, the planting holes can be dug at least 1 month before planting and filled with a mixture of topsoil, coconut husks, wood ash and well-decomposed manure which is then allowed to settle.
There are about three major planting space patterns which are;
i. Square pattern,
ii. Triangular pattern and
iii. Single Hedge pattern.
Below are some of the spacing and the yield expectancy for planting in these patterns;
i. For square plantings space, 8 m (158 seedlings/ha),
ii. For triangular plantings space 8.5 m (158 seedlings/ha),
iii. For rectangular plantings space 7.3 x 8.5 m (164 seedlings/ha)
To ensure efficient growth, the seedling is placed in the hole and backfilled with topsoil mixed with 30g NPK (12-24- 12). The seedlings are handled carefully so that the sprout is not damaged. The nut is covered with soil mix which is gently pressed into place so that the central bud and the collar of the shoot is above the soil level. The surrounding soil around the seedling is raked then the seedlings are irrigated adequately. Irrigation is recommended immediately after planting. As the plant grows, soil is backfilled to the surrounding soil level.
Diagrammatic Representation of the Planting of Coconut
As earlier stated, coconut is dependent largely on the presence of water, via rainfall or irrigation. It is important that rainfall be well distributed throughout the year for optimum coconut production. Irrigation is necessary to provide sufficient soil moisture during dry periods and so ensure good growth, development and yield. An adult palm requires 600 to 800 litres of water once in 4 - 7 days (Coconut Development Board, 2013a).
During periods of drought, there is high mortality of transplanted seedlings, shedding of young nuts, drying and hanging down of older fronds and, failure of young fronds to open. Therefore, irrigation is high recommended to avoid these troubles.
Weeds generally affect the growth and performance of the plant, heavy weed growth makes the collection of fallen nuts a difficult exercise during harvest. For seedling, their pits should be cleared of weeds periodically.
For newly-planted fields, an ideal practice will be to spray weedicide after lining the fields, in a circle around each peg marking the planting hole. This will ensure a weed-free environment even before planting out, thus giving the plant about 2 - 3 months to properly establish itself. Failing this, weed control should be done as soon as possible after planting to avoid weed competition (CIB, 2015b). 
Some of the prevalent pests and diseases that affect the coconut plant include,
The major pest that affects the cocoa plant includes:
Note they are all causal agent to the diseases faced by the plants at respective times and seasons.
Some major disease that affects the cocoa plant includes:
Coconut is a Perennial crop that produces every single year from its first fruiting to points of maturity. However it takes about six to ten years before coconut can start fruiting and producing its nuts. Coconuts take about 12 months after pollination to fully ripen to the dry nut stage. Twelve month old nuts can be harvested for seed.
The mature nuts are harvested when at least one nut in the oldest bunch starts becoming dry. In Tall varieties, it takes 11 - 12 months from fruit set for a nut to mature whereas in Dwarfs, nuts will mature in 10 - 11 months after emergence of the inflorescence. These nuts can be easily identified when the epicarp of one or two nuts in the bunch starts turning brown. Traditionally, you know the ripe nut by the sound they make when hit with a harvesting knife, it makes a dull sound when it’s not ripe and a ringing sound when its ripe.
Harvesting however is done at various points and times with respect to the used for the nut harvested. Harvest for coconut water is done at about 9-11 month stage. For coconut oil, at the 12 - 13 month stage, the water (liquid endosperm) converts to the white meat (solid endosperm) lining the inside of the endocarp (shell). Nuts harvested at this stage are often dried to produce copra or wet processed to extract coconut oil. In practice, the harvesting cycle varies from 45 - 60 or 90-day periods with high copra and oil recovery. Harvesting too early can affect the quality of the copra in terms of oil content. 
There are two common methods of harvesting coconuts; the pole and the climbing methods. Although both the pole and the climbing methods of harvesting require considerable experience and skill to be performed safely and efficiently, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Also in many cases, dry nuts are allowed to free-fall and then collected from the ground beneath the trees prior to their processing.
In Nigeria today, there are several opportunities that are available to individuals in the value addition (processing and packaging) of coconut. With value addition, coconut has much potential from itself, as it can be processed into various forms with readily available and consuming markets in Nigeria.
Coconut can be processed into various products which can be used industrially or as food. Some of these products from coconut processing include:
i. Coconut chips
ii. Coconut candies
iii. Crude coconut oil e.t.c
Industrially, coconut extracts are processing into the making of
i. Cosmetics (Body lotions and Creams)
ii. Also, it is processing into the making of some fruit drinks in Nigeria (chivita, chi-exotic etc)
As a result of its value and the degree of use, Nigeria is in terms of the volume of production produced about 267,500 metric tonnes of coconuts and occupies the 18th position on the world coconut production index, according to data obtained from The World Leaders in Coconut Production as at April 2017.  There is a high demand for coconut in Nigeria and this demand has outstripped the country’s production capacity for several decades.
Coconut is a cash crop that is grown in 22 of Nigeria’s 36 states and its production is limited to the south-western part of the country, with Lagos State having the largest production area. The crop serves as a raw material for numerous industries, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food and beverage, with limitless domestic and export potential; coconut consumption however, has continued to rise with the growing population, especially dry coconuts consumed in northern Nigeria, and this shows an ever ready and open market opportunity for the cultivation, processing and sales of the product.
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