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Biotechnology can help boost Nigeria's cotton output
20
Dec '12
Biotechnological intervention can help revamp and boost Nigeria’s cotton production, according to Prof. Chris Echekwu, a plant scientist from the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU). 
 
Presenting a paper on the prospects of enhanced cotton production with the use of biotechnology during the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Katsina state, Prof. Echekwu said cotton development is one of the main aspects of agricultural transformation action plan.
 
He said cotton production in the country has remained low due to low and erratic rainfall, biotic pest attacks and diseases, low soil fertility and limited resources of farmers.
 
Biotechnology has greatly contributed in increasing the crop output by reducing the effects of biotic stress, particularly by extending protection against pest attacks, he added.
 
The agricultural transformation action plan was introduced to put the deteriorating cotton production back on track and to make it play key economic and social roles in the economy.
 
Highlighting that Katsina State has continued to be amongst Nigeria’s highest cotton producing states, Prof. Echekwu said the state contributed over 30 percent of country’s total cotton output in the past.
 
However, cotton production in the state is now impacted by low productivity and production, due to biophysical and socio-economic issues, he said.
 
Prof. Bamidele Solomon, Director General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and Chairman of OFAB Nigeria said that NABDA backs the use of biotechnology for revamping the textile industry, especially in enhancing cotton output, which is a key raw material for the industry.
 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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