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'Use of Bt cotton can boost yield in Nigeria' - Expert
Apr '12
The use of Bt cotton seeds can give better yields than non-biotech hybrid varieties currently grown in Nigeria, according to Professor Bamidele Solomon, Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).

Speaking at an Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa, Prof. Solomon said the production of cotton in Nigeria has declined to 120,000 tons per annum, which is less than half of over 300,000 tons per annum once produced in Nigeria.

He suggested the use of biotechnology to increase cotton production and thereby to revamp the ailing Nigerian textile industry.

He stated that according to a latest report, field trails in India have shown that Bt cotton hybrids give 80 percent greater yield than non-biotech hybrids.

He said the use of Bt cotton seeds would enhance profits for cotton growers and more farmers would be interested in growing the crop, which would in turn increase the availability of raw material to the Nigerian textile industry.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were more than 250 textile manufacturing units in Nigeria, employing millions of people. In comparison, there are less than 25 units at present which are operating at around 40 percent of their production capacity employing only a few people, he stated.

He said the Nigerian textile industry has been severely affected owing to high operating cost and the fascination of Nigerians towards imported textile materials, but abundant supply of raw material can revive Nigerian textile industry.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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