The National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to establish a National Cotton, Textile and Garment Development Council.
It says the Council would strengthen coordination, boost production and the marketing of cotton as well as enhance the development of the sector generally.
Alhaji Hassan Buhari, National Secretary of the association made the appeal at the Cotton Master Sampling and Production meeting in Zaria.
Buhari made the appeal while presenting a paper: “Cotton production: marketing, challenges and pathways to recovery’’.
“The Council when established shall provide the necessary support to cotton industry development through appropriate services in production, research, extension and training, financial assistance and other support services.
“It shall also prescribe and strictly enforce regulations and quality control needed to safeguard cotton growers,’’ he said.
Buhari said the Council would also serve as the country’s cotton development authority and would be committed to innovate and make cotton production competitive to increase farmers’ income, and generate foreign exchange revenue.
The national secretary expressed the association’s appreciation to President Muhammad Buhari for including cotton in government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.
He said the association further appeals to the Federal Government to sustain the scheme to boost production.
Earlier, Prof. Ado Yusuf, Deputy Director, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) said the meeting was convened to set the standard for uniform seed cotton grading to meet international market requirements.
The meeting also reviewed production, quality and marketing issues, related challenges and possible solutions.
Prof. Yusuf noted that the cotton industry had witnessed successive government interventions, but the desired transformation to place Nigeria among the comity of cotton producing nations was yet to be achieved.
In his remarks, Alhaji Mohammed Tilli, Deputy Director, Produce, Kebbi State Ministry of Agriculture, urged government to replicate efforts put on rice and maize in cotton.
This, he said, would help to scale up cotton production. (NAN)