Abuja — The sharp decease in the contribution of Cotton Textile and Garment (CTG) sector to national economy has been faulted by stakeholders describing the trend as dangerous.The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Industry, Abubakar Husaini Moriki, who spoke at the 16th African Cotton association (ACA) held in Abuja, said that recent indicator showed that the contribution of the cotton industry sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had fallen from about 25 per cent in 1980 to about five per cent in recent time. .
Moriki attributed the decline to factors such as lack of mechanisation of the process, inconsistent government policies and absence of improved cotton seed among others.He called on the Federal Government to invest in cotton production and provide the enabling environment and improve the process of production through mechanisation as a panacea to boosting production in Nigeria, cum Africa.
Moriki said to develop the CTG, the National Assembly introduced a Bill last year, adding: "the Bill had gone through the first and second readings and awaiting it's third reading."
Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu Ogbeh, put Nigeria's current cotton production output at 112,000 metric tons, far below 180,000 MT produced in 2014.Ogbeh stated that Nigeria is now among the seven African countries granted the Cotton Technical Assistance Programme by India.
According to him, "the package benefited operators in the cotton sector to build capacity while India also donated farming equipment like solar powered knapsack sprayer, solar powered handpicker and Bullock drawn vertical rotor planter to the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria., India and Asian countries produce 60 per cent of global cotton output, while Africa produces only about 16 per cent inspite of its huge production potentials."
Also speaking, the Minister of State of Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, who declared the congress open, said there was now an urgency to revive the moribund textile industry through increased investments in textile industry.Abubakar said Africa's quest for industrialization can actualized if the cotton producing countries stop to raw cotton with little or no value addition. .
"Our main challenge is therefore how to grow and process our cotton to sustain this quest. The continued export of cotton lint by African producers is unsustainable in view of global instability in the prices of cotton. We must leverage our potential and develop our capacities through strengthening the sector and providing producers the support to enhance competitiveness and technology."