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Nigeria's cotton industry needs total revamp - Report
Aug '11
A total revamp of Nigeria's cotton industry is essential to enhance the country's cotton production to 300,000 tons from 120,000 tons at present, according to a latest report prepared by the Ministerial Working Group on Cotton Rebirth.

The report cites production, marketing, illegal sales across the border, and inconsistency in Government policy as major challenges faced by the country's cotton industry.

The report not only lists key constraints, but even suggests ways to solve them. Contamination of cotton, unorganized licensed buyers and poor infrastructure services are among the production constraints listed by the report.

As an immediate measure, the report has suggested that a meeting of all the ginners should be held to discuss various proposals in connection with replacing their entire non-functional machinery with new ones, as well as for imparting training to their workforce.

For medium-term, the report suggests that a provision should be made for proper storage of cotton seeds with appropriate power back-up facilities. It also recommends provision of important inputs and instruments that are necessary for classification and grading of cotton, needed by ginners. It asks the Government to provide financial support to Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) for imparting training.

In the long-term, the report suggests strengthening of both the Federal and State services in-charge of inspecting the produce, as well as the quarantine service.

Further, the report asks the State governments to set up a one-stop shop for agro-cotton where all essential inputs required for production of cotton can be made available.

The State governments should also encourage farmers to access credit at single interest rate to improve production, the report says. Cotton is one of the major commodities that are being promoted under the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NISRAL).

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