We’ve diversified the economy through cotton cultivation — Farmers

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…Solicit for help to sustain continuous growth of the sector

Olaseinde Gbenga – Abuja

The National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) has commenced harvest on the largest cotton farm in Nigeria, seeking for more efforts to sustain the growth of the sector.

This was disclosed at the flag-off of the 2021 Cotton Wet Season Harvest in the 6,000-hectare farmland located in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Chief Anibe Achimugu, the President of the Association, said this was achieved through the interventions of private and public sectors, describing it as an effort to diversify the economy through the cotton value chain.

According to him, the sector was also able to achieve the feat courtesy of the CBN’s intervention- the Anchor Borrowers Programme, adding that the acquisition of improved seed varieties and mechanised equipment also made it achievable.

“Fortunately, in 2019, cotton was included among the crops to be financed by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Program. Through the efforts of NACOTAN, cotton farming has been revived and harvested cotton available to the ginneries with multiplier effects felt in Nigeria’s textile and garment industries.

“To sustain these achievements and increase the quantity and quality of cotton, NACOTAN has adopted contiguous farming method-a large scale farming system of thousands of hectares here in Plateau as well as in Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Taraba and Adamawa states, just to mention a few.

“We cultivated 39,645 hectares of cotton farms across 17 states covering the North West, North East, North Central and South West Regions of our nation for the 2021 wet season.

“The association also noted that 97 brand new John Deere tractors was acquired, which helped us massively with our 2021 wet season cultivation. We increased our yield per hectare utilising good quality planting materials sourced locally and internationally,” he said.

He explained the need to support the growth of the sector by fostering reliance on locally produced cotton.

According to him, the mandate of the association was to ensure that military and para-military uniforms are made with locally grown cotton.

He, therefore, warned charlatans to stay away from their farms, to avoid a negative impact on the industry’s sustainability efforts.