President Muhammadu Buhari today flagged off the commencement of the distribution of high-yielding cotton seeds and other farming inputs to 100,000 cotton farmers in Katsina State for the 2019 planting season under the Anchor Borrower’s Programme.
The President was represented by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh in the company of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Speaking on behalf of the President, Chief Audu Ogbeh, recalled how the textile industries in the country used to engage close to one million workers but however, lamented that with the disappearance of the Kaduna, Kano, Ikeja and Aba textiles industries, Nigeria has become the importers of textiles.
“We believe that with this initiative, in a short while, we shall be back among the leading nations in textiles production because we are the biggest consumers of textile,” the Minister added.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari on his part said the state government in its effort to revive agriculture including cotton production had provided incentives such as farm inputs, modern farming implements and financial supports to farmers in the state, adding that the federal government’s initiative to promote cotton production under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme would support his administration’s quest of bringing back the lost glory of Katsina cotton production.
Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele said that Katsina was chosen for the flag-off because it is the leading cotton- producing state in Nigeria, adding that: “With the provision of these seedlings to over 100,000 farmers cultivating over 200,000 hectares of farmland, along with extensive training on proper farming techniques, we expect to see production of high grade cotton lint at much improved yields of up to 4 Tonnes per hectare, relative to current cultivation rates of less than 1 ton per hectare”, added.
Also included in the package to the farmers are fertilizer, pesticides and knapsack sprayers. The National Cotton Association of Nigeria is expected to ensure compliance of its members with the stipulated terms for the support that will be provided to farmers.
The programme which was rolled out by the CBN in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is targeted at reviving the nation’s cotton, textiles and garments industry.