Challenges And Progress Of Nigeria’s Cotton Sector

Cotton, NigeriaThe cotton and textile sector plays an important role in the economic development of any nation, as it contributes to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as creates jobs and income for farmers.

In Nigeria, however, there has been a sharp decrease in cotton farming, as statistics revealed that the contribution of the sector to the GDP fell from about 25% in 1980 to 5% in the most recent indicators.

According to some farmers, the sector is faced with challenges such as lack of improved cotton seeds, diseases and inconsistent policies by the government.

However, it appears to be a good harvest for them unlike before when harvest remained poor, following the inability of the farmers to access improved yields and non-mechanisation of farming techniques among others.

Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed that 18 states produce cotton on a total land area of 399.8 hectares in Nigeria.

The survey also disclosed that Zamfara State cultivated the largest land area with 92.6 hectares, followed by Katsina State with 75.9 hectares.

The least cultivated land areas are Ekiti and Ondo states with 0.07 hectares and 0.1 hectares respectively.

Way Out Of The Challenges

At a gathering in Abuja on Tuesday, a speaker, who is also a farmer’s son, Solomon Esu, said his father’s cotton production had dropped over the years owing to some challenges.

However, the Country Coordinator of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology, Dr Rose Gidado, and the Director General of the National Agency for Biotechnology Development, Professor Lucy Ogbadu, highlighted the way out of the challenges of the cotton and textile industry.

The experts recommended a total overhaul of the sector, stressing that it would provide jobs and the needed income for farmers, as well as contribute to the economic development of the nation.

The Federal Government, at different meetings, had promised to revive the industry through adequate funding.

The farmers described the effort as commendable while they expressed hope that it would result in improved yields and income for them.

Agriculture Can Make You Have Your Own Private Jet – Jonathan Tells Young Farmers

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria while addressing the 19th Nigerian Economic Summit, on Tuesday, encouraged youths of the nation to participate in the agricultural sector which can help them become private jet owners.

The President commended the youth who are now shifting away from the mindset that agriculture is a “simple poverty-alleviation programme” and encouraged them “to begin to think that agriculture can make you have your own private jet.”

The economic summit, which provides an opportunity to discuss issues with a view to providing practical solutions, is organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The summit is also the “foremost platform for dialogue between the public and private sectors,” for which the President thanked the organisers, for ensuring consistency for the annual event.

In his address, the President stated that the summit is coming at a critical time in the nation’s political history, following the launch of his administration’s mid-term report on the transformation agenda, on May 29th.

He stressed the government’s determination to “lay a solid foundation for the transformation of the country’s agricultural sector for enhanced growth and development”.

“The country is more determined than ever to unlock the great potentials of agriculture in order to ensure food security, create jobs and generate wealth,” he said, adding that it is “part of our continued effort to demonstrate our drive and commitment to work with the private sector to make agriculture once again, the main stay of our economy”.

This year’s summit focuses on the agricultural sector, which the President said he is not totally in agreement with because “you cannot discuss agriculture without discussing land. You cannot discuss agriculture without talking about farm managers, agronomists, agric engineers and agric economists, and that is education.”

He highlighted other sectors of the economy such as transportation, trade, finance and petroleum.

He also expressed satisfaction in the participation of middle class citizens adding that the involvement of the middle class signals the “beginning of a proper revolution”.

The 19th Nigerian Economic Summit currently on-going, is the third in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The event which is broadcast by Channels Television in Abuja has members of the National Assembly, Federal Executive Council, Members of the Economic Summit Group, Captains of industries and other guests in attendance.

FG Signs $2 Million Pathogen Control MoU With Canada

Nigeria and the Canada have signed a $2 million Memorandum of Understanding which is aimed at positioning the country to prevent and control emerging pathogens which have potential for causing disease emergencies in humans and animals.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina said that the initiative will help guarantee food security for the nation.

The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Chris Cooter said that the cooperation between the two countries will impact meaningfully on Nigeria’s economy.

LCCI Decries FG’s planned importation of 100 Rice Mill

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has faulted the plan by the federal government to import 100 rice mills from China for distribution to states.

In a press release on Tuesday, the president of the chamber Mr Goodie Ibru said the acquisition of the mills should be done by the private sector with the support of government.

According to him, the plan negates the policy thrust in economic management that government would concentrate on the provision of enabling environment and institutions to support the growth of private enterprises.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, had recently announced that with the federal government’s determination to meet its target of making the country self-sufficient in rice production by 2015, the Ministry will be importing 100 large-scale mills to boost rice production in the country.

The rice mills are expected to put in place the capacity to produce 2.1 million tonnes of rice.