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Nigeria to revive dwindling cotton fortunes
25
Feb '12
After losing ground as one of the leading exporters of cotton worldwide, Nigeria is now trying to revitalize its waning cotton industry.

As part of its efforts, the country has recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with West African Cotton Company (WACOT).

In recent years, other African countries like Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have surged ahead of Nigeria in terms of cotton production.

The fall of the cotton and textile industry in northern Nigeria resulted in a steep fall in employment generation in the country from the earlier 600,000 levels, and now only 24 mills are operational in the sub-sector and even those are not operating to their full capacity.

The fall of the Nigerian cotton industry was first highlighted in agricultural transformation plan under President Goodluck Jonathan, and it was planned to restore the industry to its glorious position of the past, enabling it to surpass other West African sub-region countries in terms of exports and production volumes.

In spite of several efforts of the Federal Government to establish cotton as a leading foreign exchange earning commodity, overseas buyers have been reluctant to procure Nigerian cotton items. Such poor patronage and low pricing of cotton has compelled several farmers to divert to other crops.

According to experts, reinstating the north Nigerian cotton industry to its glorious position can only be done by enhancing its production volumes, which would necessitate introduction of modern techniques to help farmers to boost their productivity per hectare.

However, to ensure success of this cotton transformation agenda it is necessary to make the crop lucrative for farmers, by raising the yield per hectare and ensuring handsome returns to the growers.

The agenda would benefit the country's economy as a whole, as besides enhancing the scope of employment, it would also shoot up tax accruals for Government, with farmers benefiting the most in terms of higher producer price.

On the other hand, experts opine, overlooking the crop may hamper employment generation in the agriculture sector, as it would be generating less sales revenues, resulting in farmer's apathy to take up the crop.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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