RMRDC moves to revive cotton farming, distributes seeds to farmers
In a bid to revive cotton farming and the textile industry in Nigeria, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) has distributed over 10 tonnes of improved cotton seeds to farmers in two years.
“Last year, we boosted cotton production with 5.8 tonnes of seeds of cotton comprising of Samaru 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12. This year, we gave 4.3 tonnes of seeds of cotton comprising Samaru 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 varieties to the farmers in the 4 cotton growing zones, namely:North West, North East, North Central, South West,” Dr Gabriel G. Awolehin, Chairman, Cotton Strategic Committee, RMRDC told Daily Trust.
Speaking at this year’s seed presentation ceremony recently in Minna, the Director General, (RMRDC), Dr. Hussaini D. Ibrahim, represented by the Director, Agriculture and AgroAllied Department (AAD), Dr. A. A. Ogunwusi, said cotton production and productivity need to change from just cultivating small hectares of land to large scale farming, so as to resuscitate the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Industry.
“With a total land covering about 650,000 hectares available for cotton farming, only a third is currently being exploited to produce 300,000 tonnes of cotton by an estimated 250,000 farmers in major cotton producing states comprising Katsina, Gombe Zamfara, Borno, Adamawa Kaduna, Niger, Oyo and Ogun. Currently production is largely unorganized, which has created a negative impact on the productivity level and fibre quality,” the DG noted.
In an address, the Niger state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh. Aliyu Abdullahi, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Alh. Mahammadu D. Ibrahim, pointed out that “seeds are the foundation of agricultural development anywhere in the world, because yield from the farm depends largely on the quality of the seed planted.”
He advised the farmers on the use of best improved cultural and agronomic practices in order to produce tangible yield of the crop.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), ABU Zaria, Prof U. I. Abubakar, said that the strong collaboration between RMRDC and IAR made it possible for the seed presentation to take place.
He stated that the Institute has successfully bred six varieties of cotton with three SAMCOT 8, 9, and 10 being medium staple and suitable for northern growing zones, while SAMCOT 11, 12, and 13 are long staple and suitable for southern growing zone and irrigated conditions.
He added that IAR has also developed agronomic, soil and crop protection practices for successful production of the crop to achieve high yields and good economic returns.
Farmers who benefitted from the seed distribution expressed appreciation, while pointing out that first week of June is the best time for them to have the seeds to enable them plant at the right time.
From left: Mr. John Amadu, Niger State Coordinator (RMRDC); A farmer from Niger State; Mr. Orusa T. SO I (RMRDC); Dr. A. A. Ogunwusi, Director (AAD) rep. of the DG (RMRDC); Dr. G. G. Mustapha, Deputy Director (TLLD, RMRDC); Alh. Mahammadu Dalani I. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Niger State; Prof. U. I. Abubakar, Executive Director, IAR; NACOTAN Chairman, Niger State Chapter, Alh. Abubakar Shiyaki.