Saturday, April 13Inside Business Africa

Stakeholders urge farmers to boost cotton production

Stakeholders have said the revival of cotton farming will strengthen and stimulate the economy, generate employment, leading to the reopening of cotton-related industries and lift exports.

They argued that the release of ‘Mahyco Cotton Hybrids in Bollgard2’, would offer significantly higher yield levels, superior cotton quality and decrease the cost of pest control, and enhance the income level of farmers.

The Ag. Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof Alex Akpa, who spoke at Bt. Cotton farmers’ field day, in Abuja, said they have to use technology tools in genetic engineering for crop production.

Akpa noted that for years, scientists had laboured under laboratory conditions to proffer solutions to the destructive effects of pink bollworm on cotton crop and associated low yield.

Stressing the economic importance of the two Bt. Cotton varieties, he said: “Many great countries, United States, India and China, have adopted various aspects of genetic engineering to meet the challenges in health and environment. They are global examples and leaders in Bt. cotton deployment.”

Also, the National President, National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Anibe Achimugu, noted that cotton is the bedrock of textile and garment sector of the Nigerian economy, because cotton farming guarantees raw material for industries, as obtained in South Africa, Egypt, Burkina Faso, and Sudan.

He said: “Adoption of Mahyco Bollgard2 Hybrid seed has the potential to bring about cotton revolution in the country. In 2019, its primary objective was to demonstrate the value of hybrids and technology to farmers in their own fields.
“In the wet season of 2019, more than 2,000 samples were distributed to selected farmers to let them understand the crop, trained the farmers on right agronomy to optimize the yield in farmer fields.”
On his part, the Director-General, Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, Hamman Kwajaffa, reiterated the irreplaceable role Bt. cotton could play in reviving the country’s economy.

Also speaking, the President of Gotton Ginners Association of Nigeria, Suleiman Abdullahi, said Bt. Cotton is a new era for the industry, which will revive most of the moribund 54 ginneries, out of which only 10 to 12 are functioning.

The Country Coordinator, OFAB, Nigeria Chapter, Dr. Rose Gidado, in her remarks said cotton has been chosen as Nigeria’s crop of pride because it reflects national needs and efforts towards transforming the textile industry.

Also contributing, the Mission Director, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Dr Grema, pledged continual support to the revolution of Africa’s agriculture.

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