RMRDC moves to re­vive cot­ton farm­ing, dis­trib­utes seeds to farm­ers

Daily Trust - - GOLDEN HARVEST - By Ahmed Dio Agbo

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.

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