THE General Manager, Agribusiness Development to West African Cotton Company (WACOT), Mr Pankaj Chawla, has said a continuous viable cotton production will revive the moribund textile industry in Nigeria.
Pankaj said that the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to that effect “is doing its best towards reviving the Nigerian Cotton Industry by investing in the cotton value chain.”
Mr Pankaj, who spoke in an interview with Nigerian Tribune said, “The FMARD is trying to form a cotton cooperation and working very hard to revive the cotton industry,” adding that “the Federal Government had gone overboard to support the cotton sector/cotton value chain development.”
According to him: “The Implication of a viable cotton industry in Nigeria is the resurrection of the textile industry, to which the federal government distributes free cotton harvesting bags to farmers to reduce the contamination in cotton.”
It will be recalled that the Federal Government in 2012 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with WACOT proposing a four-year seed multiplication plan to cover Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Zamfara, Adamawa, Gombe and Borno states respectively.
According to the Minister of FMARD “the MOU is aimed at “expanding hectare from 16,000 hectares currently to 200,000 hectares by the end of 2012 and 250,000 hectares by 2015. He added that 105,307 cotton farmers across the 11 targeted states would benefit from the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme covering seeds and fertilisers.”
Mr Pankaj however said: “we do not want to go overboard but want to deal with realistic figures which can be redeemed.
He further added that they had increased production, “because we started from 1250mts and now have up to 2500mts/3000mts. And this, I will say, has stabilised the production and now a constant supply of cotton seed like other food crops is sustained, and as demand comes, we can always up-scale it. That is not a problem.”
He stated “the need to understand the position of agriculture prior to 2011, saying, “farmers were not getting certified seeds, but now farmers are getting good quality certified seeds through WACOTS intervention by which their production is increasing and the cotton seed now had a steady supply as those of other food crops.” [SOURCE: TRIBUNE]