By Etuka Sunday
The Cotton Ginners Association (CGA) has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari on the N19 billion granted the members through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers programme, saying the fund is capable of turning the economic fortune of the country around.
President of the association, Alhaji Salmanu Abdullahi, while briefing newsmen in Abuja, Monday stated that the N19 billion CBN loan will help Nigerian cotton farmers revamp the agricultural sector and contribute to the economic revival efforts of the federal government.
Speaking on the contributions of cotton to Nigeria’s economy, the CGA president said the sub-sector has the capacity to contribute not less than 15 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if properly harnessed.
According to him, “This sub-sector has a huge value chain; from cotton farming, you talk of ginning, spinning, weaving, garment and oil mills, etc, which is a huge network of chains.”
“In the ‘80s and ‘90s, we had over 160 textile mills in the country and they were the providers of second largest employment of labour, next only to the public service, but today, only about 10 textile mills are working. They were 52 ginneries but today, less than 20 are working.
“Beginning from the production of cotton to the garment sub-sector is a huge productive activity that needs to be harnessed properly to get the best from the sector.”
He advised that government must continuously look at this very key sector and do its utmost best to harness the potentials with a view to reviving moribund and dead textile industries located in Kaduna, Kano, Funtua among other cities and ensure that cotton production is reactivated to provide the enabling environment for all the key stakeholders to thrive and watch the amazing contribution the sector would make to the GDP.
The cotton ginners association president said it has become imperative for major stakeholders including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, research institutes to participate in the implementation of programmes targeted at revamping the cotton farming and its value chain activities across the country.
“The sources for the inputs should be transparent and we must ensure high quality of inputs, especially the seeds should be provided to the farmers at reasonable price and the use of hybrid seed should be explored.
“For it to succeed, we need also to work hard to revive the entire cotton textile and garment value chain so that the cotton that is produced by the farmers has available good market,” he stated.