Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Minister Reiterates FG's Commitment to Boost Cotton Production

Alhaji Bukar Tijani, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, on Friday in Abuja reiterated Federal Government's commitment to boost cotton production in the country.

Tijanni said this in a statement issued by the Director Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

It quoted Tijanni as giving the assurance while signing an MoU with the representatives of the Government of India on Techhnical Assistance Programme for the Development of cotton sector (Cotton TAP).

He said that a boost in the production of the crop was part of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the present administration.

"It is the desire of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to see to the development of the Cotton Value Chain so that cotton farmers, textiles and users of cotton garments can get the best of this programme."

Tijani also gave the assurance that the transformation of the cotton value chain that was achieved in 2012, would be consolidated in 2013.

He said that efforts would be doubled in order to achieve the desired result.

He also stated that the Ministry would "fast track" the establishment of a Skills Acquisition Institute for Cotton in the country, as part of the agreement.

Dr Milan Sharma, Representative of the Indian government, who signed on behalf of her country, said that Cotton TAP was Indian's South-South Cooperation Initiative with seven African countries.

She said that Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Benin, Burkina-faso, Chad and Mali were the beneficiaries.

Sharma also noted that 15 Nigerians, drawn from various specialist fields of agriculture, had benefitted from the technical training aspect of the programme.

She said the programme is scheduled to terminate in 2015.

NAN recalls that the Federal Government in collaboration with the West African Cotton Company Limited (WACOT), in 2012, supported cotton farmers in some Northern states with seeds and agro-chemicals to boost cotton production.

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