Farmers to produce more cotton as price soars
…urge revival of textile industry
More farmers, especially in katsina State, are gearing up for the cultivation of cotton, courtesy of government’s intervention through the Anchor-Borrower scheme.
In the past, lack of improved seeds and low price of the produce had over the years threatened the production of cotton across the country with the farmers shifting their attention to soybeans, sorghum, rice and maize.
Ahmad Nasir Sada, a manager at ABM Seeds and Agro Company in Malumfashi, Katsina State, told this reporter that about two thirds of what is being planted in Malumfashi zone this year is cotton as government is set to revive its production across the state.
“The major threat to cotton production years back was low price of the produce and poor quality seeds but from last year, the price of cotton has significantly improved from N90,000 a tonne to N160,000 around last November and now a tonne of cotton is N220,000.
“The Katsina State Agricultural Development Agency (KATARDA), in partnership with the National Seeds Council and the Institute of Agriculture Research (IAR), have produced improved cotton seeds which we are distributing along with fertilizer and pesticides to farmers through the AnchorBorrower scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” Ahmad Nasir told Daily Trust at the weekend.
He said Malumfashi, Kankara, Musawa and Matazu are for decades the the trend is cotton hub of the state and that many farmers this year seemed ready to produce the crop in large quantity, considering their enrollment in the CBN scheme.
“What an average farmer is after is profit and now a tonne of soybeans is N150,000, that of maize and sorghum are a little over N100,000 while that of cotton starts from N160,000 and is now N220,000. This development and the provision of improved seeds are the basic motivational factors for farmers to cultivate the crop this year,” he added.
But Lawal Iliya Dayi, a cotton farmer, said besides price and improved seeds, government has a lot to do in order to revive cotton production in the state.
“Because many of us left cotton production, new farmers are lacking the basic technology of producing the crop. Extension services need to be deployed by government to sensitize farmers and teach them the best way to produce the crop,’’ he said.
He also said for the sustenance of production of the crop across the country, local textile industries needed to be resuscitated.
“This improved price we are enjoying is largely controlled by the international market and if we do not improve our local consumption of the produce, I bet you, in no distant time the price will crash again,” the farmer said.
He also commended the government’s agricultural policies particularly the Anchor - Borrower programme which he said “is a pragmatic approach of reviving agriculture in the country.”
Another farmer from Danja LGA, Alhaji Saminu Junaidu, said most farmers in the area rely on WACOT to source their seeds and other inputs.
“Most times, government programmes on agriculture come late to the farmers that is why we rely on WACOT for prompt supply of seeds and other inputs for our production. This year, I have additional two hectares set aside for cotton production only because I made a lot of profit from the produce last year,” said Alhaji Junaidu.
He further said what farmers really need are improved seeds that could give them high yield.
A cotton seeds’ dealer at Funtua market, Malam Muhammadu Isah, said they were yet to come across the new, improved cotton seed from IAR.
“We are yet to see the new cotton seed. But a lot of farmers from Faskari, Bakori and villages of Funtua are coming to buy seeds from us and that indicates that the volume of cotton to be produced will improve this year,” Isah said.
He added that a 100kg bag of ordinary seed now cost N4,500 in the open market.
He however noted that, “Insecurity, especially around Birnin Gwari border is a problem for the large scale production of the crop though the place has large farmlands.”
A file photo of cotton plants ready for harvest