Cotton Farmers in Bauchi State on Saturday called on the Federal Government to encourage cotton farming by sustaining the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) in the country.
The cotton farmers, who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), also urged government to encourage cotton farmers through the ABP.
Nazif Gital, Secretary, Bauchi Council National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), lauded the ABP for supporting cotton farmers in the state in 2020.
He said that the support had encouraged farmers to go into cotton production and enabled them to produce 8,347 tonnes of cotton in 2020.
“The programme had motivated farmers for better production by providing them with enough quantities of inputs as well as supporting them with training,” he said.
He noted that since the support stopped coming in 2021, some of the farmers could not afford to go into the cotton farming any more.
“Cotton is susceptible to insects like weevils. These pests can affect the yield of your crop; we need inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides and chemicals that kill weeds,” he said.
Malam Muhammad Aliyu, Chairman, Bauchi Council of Cotton Producers and Merchants Association of Nigeria,(COPMAN), urged federal government to mobilise farmers to embrace cotton farming in view of its economic potential.
He said that cotton was one of the largest employers of labour in the country before the discovery of oil.
“Poor cotton production contributed to the collapse of the textile industries, with no radical approach by successive administrations in the country to improve the sector.
“The determination of the Buhari led administration to diversify the economy and accord agriculture priority attention through the ABP is laudable to revive cotton production.
“COPMAN has encouraged 5,000 cotton farmers in 2021 in Bauchi, Alkaleri, Ningi and Toro area councils to go into cotton production,” he said.
On his part, Malam Haruna Lanzai, said with the support of the federal government in 2020, about 12,000 farmers engaged in cotton farming in the state.
“We are appealing to government to sustain the support of cotton farmers to revive cotton farming in the state,” he said.
NAN reports that cotton is a global commodity grown in over 75 countries, while Oct. 7 is celebrated as World Cotton Day annually.