FG provides lifeline for garment industry revival – New Telegraph
The federal government has said the introduction of Bt cotton is a lifeline aimed at revitalizing the comatose textile industry in the country, while boosting massive employment for the unemployed. This was revealed by the Director General of the National Agricultural Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, in Abuja during a one-day training workshop for cotton and organic farmers. other stakeholders. Mustapha noted that the textile industry was one of Nigeria’s main economic mainstays in the past, with around 130 factories, but has drastically shrunk to just 33 due to low conventional cotton yields.
He said the federal government, determined to solve the problems, has since introduced Bt cotton, marketed in Nigeria and already accepted by farmers, with multiple benefits. He added that “statistics indicate that at its peak, between 1970 and 1990, the garment industry comprised about 130 modern factories and supported many other ancillary businesses, providing about 350,000 direct jobs and 1.2 million indirect jobs among farmers, suppliers, transporters, retailers, traders and exporters.
“There are only about 33 factories left and the local cotton industry is in a coma, mainly due to the lack of good seeds, low yields and high production costs associated with insect damage. “These pests reduce yields by up to 60%, which impacts farmers’ profits and has also proven to be detrimental to the environment.
“We cannot stress enough the irreplaceable role that Bt cotton plays in reviving the Nigerian economy. It can produce 4.1 to 4.4 tons per hectare, compared to the local variety, which only produces 600 to 900 kilograms per hectare. Since Bt cotton can resist the devastating bollworm and tolerate sucking insects, it will help farmers reduce their use of pesticides, thereby minimizing environmental impacts and lowering production costs.
“These Bt cotton varieties are suitable for cultivation in all cotton growing areas of Nigeria. In addition to pest resistance characteristics, they offer early maturity, fiber length of 30.0 to 30.5 millimeters and fiber strength of 26.5 to 27.0 g/tex (tenacity) and micronaire (resistance) from 3.9 to 4.1. Bt cotton varieties will save farmers from having to deal with the local conventional variety, which is no longer accepted in international markets. Also speaking, the National Coordinator of the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), Dr. Rose Gidado, said the workshop was designed to keep farmers and stakeholders abreast of new trends in the cotton industry. .