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Cotton farmers target 300,000 tonnes production under CBN agric programme

The National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) says it is targeting the production of between 240,000 and 300,000 tonnes of cotton in 2019.

Mr Anibe Achimugu, the President of NACOTAN, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.

Achimugu said the set target would be achieved under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).

According to him, the association produced estimated seed cotton of between 60,000 and 80,000 tonnes in 2018.

“This year, I believe that we will be able to achieve a minimum of 240,000 tonnes and a maximum of 300,000 tonnes.

“I am saying this with confidence because of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the fact that we have started early in engaging the CBN to participate fully in the ABP programme.

“It means that before planting which is usually about June of this year, we would have gotten all the required inputs.

“And under the programme, it is so specific, in the sense that, the recommended quantities of input such as fertiliser of seven bags as recommended per hectare and agro-chemicals for instance.

“We are going to ensure that our members have those recommended quantities and dosages and apply them accordingly.

“The figures are on the basis of our target to have at least 100,000 farmers involved in the programme for this year on the basis of two hectares per farmer which basically will be 200,000 hectares.

“And we are looking at a minimum of 1.2 tonnes per hectare yield which is 240 and the best in case scenario will be 1.5 tonnes which will be 300 tonnes per hectare.

“I believe we can achieve that with good seeds, with the right quantities of input as recommended and the training that we also intend to do before planting starts,’’ he said.

Achimugu listed some of the challenges facing the association to include poor seeds, poor timing or delivery of input, inadequate extension services, poor training and guidance.

He noted that the CBN programme would assist the association to source the right seeds and deliver them to cotton farmers at the right time.

On biotechnology cotton, the president explained that cotton farmers were yet to commence its planting, adding that the association was yet to consult with the necessary authorities to know the way forward.

He said that farmers would only use the conventional seeds for the wet season farming.

“We have not started planting BT cotton yet because the commercial release was approved last year (2018).

“There is still a process to be able to produce the quantity required.

“I cannot say with confidence that BT cotton will not be part of what we will plant this year, but I am yet to discuss with the necessary organisations to see what quantities of BT cotton we may be able to bring to the scheme.

“What we are targeting now will be conventional seeds for planting,’’ the president explained.

Achimugu, who said that 26 states were currently producing cotton in the country, disclosed that Cross River and some South-east states would also join in the production of cotton in the forthcoming wet season.

SOURCE: DAILY TRUST

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