From Abba-Eku Onyeka
The Minister of State for Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Hajia Aisha Abubakar has expressed serious concern over high level of decline in production of cotton in Nigeria.
The minister expressed his concern in a statement released from her office in Abuja.
Quoting Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) figures to prove her concern over the drop of the production of the commodity in the country, she informed that for the past three seasons, the production figure shows a decline of 180,000 metric tons to 160,000 metric tons and 95,000 metric tons in 2007/2008, 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 respectively.
To address the ugly trend, she informed that her ministry: FMITI and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) had concluded all plans to host International African Cotton Congress (IACC) soonest in order to boost cotton production in Nigeria. Observing that Nigeria has fertile land for cotton production, she said that the situation calls for serious concern to the ministry as the driver of the industry, saying that she hopes that hosting IACC will provide Nigeria with an opportunity to revive the ailing sub-sector, even as she disclosed that this year’s conference would serve as a forum which would: provide opportunity for learning best practices and new technology; identify viable projects; promote regional and global interaction that opens new markets for the cotton value chain globally.
The conference, according to her was intended to reduce trade barriers and also achieve sustainability.
Emphasizing the commitment of Federal Government to agriculture and its drive to diversify the economy, the minister says the country stands to benefit immensely from the cotton sub sector through employment generation, poverty eradication, wealth creation, environmental sustainability and attraction of foreign exchange earnings, adding that the hosting of the congress will encourage participation in fruitful networking that will follow the delivery of thought-provoking papers by seasoned experts who specialized in African cotton production.
She believed that the event would also provide an avenue to showcase the cultural riches of Nigeria through the tourist component of the event. “This will serve as an avenue for trade exhibition of farming equipment and inputs that could improve cotton production in Africa,” the ministry affirmed.