Many cotton farmers in Katsina State in North West zone of Nigeria have been discouraged from cultivating cotton over the years and the reason for a major setback is identified lack of improved seeds and low price of the produce resulting in the decline of cotton production in the state.
The yield of the cotton crop has grossly reduced compared to what was obtained in the past 25 years when quality seeds could be obtained from cotton boards and other agricultural companies. They are now left with the open markets where they source their seeds through trial and error, said a farmer in Malumfashi LGA, Alhaji Hamisu Abubakar Gora, who had been into cotton farming for over 27 years.
He blamed lack of improved seeds and poor price of the produce, compared with other crops, for the decline in the business.
Moreover, cotton farming involves tedious work, more than that of maize or soybeans, and farmers spend huge amount of money in farm clearing, seeds, weeding, fertilizer, pesticides and picking in its harvesting stage.
Gora identified the shortage of the produce this year as the sole reason behind its high price of over N160,000 per metric ton, compared to the last two years when its peak price was just N90,000.
But despite the current challenges in cotton production, Katsina state cannot afford to stop cotton farming. Both Katsina State and the federal government has been urged to resuscitate cotton production in the country through the provision of improved seeds, other required inputs and a competitive price for the produce.
The Katsina state farmers also suggest that the revival of the domestic textile industry would improve cotton production in the country through increasing its demand.
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