Farm­ers to pro­duce more cot­ton as price soars

…urge re­vival of tex­tile in­dus­try

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - From Idris Mah­mud, Katsina

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.

How­ever, chang­ing.

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

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