The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), has embarked on intensive training for registered cotton farmers on best practices in the Southwest, Northeast and Northwest zones of the country.
The training with the theme, “Capacity Building Training for Cotton Farmers on Appropriate Agronomic Practices for Cotton Production,” was part of the council’s efforts to ensure that farmers adopt global best practices, which can make the production system and products globally competitive.
While addressing farmers at the Southwest training centre in Ibadan, the Director General of RMRDC, Dr. H. D. Ibrahim, whose speech was delivered by Dr. G. G. Awolehin, lamented that Nigeria’s over reliance on imported raw materials and products has led to the non-development of the country’s raw materials’ base for the textile industries.
According to him, in an effort to boost cotton crop productivity in the country, the council had between 2015 and 2017 distributed about 14 tonnes of improved cotton seeds of different varieties to cotton farmers nationwide.
However, he hinted that there was need for a holistic policy thrust and action agenda to develop and harness the natural and synthetic fibres potential of the country in view of the vast land available for cultivation of a wide range of agricultural raw materials and its natural gift of petrochemical resources.
He added that one of the critical factors towards achieving improved and high quality yield of cotton is the adequate and up-to-date training of farmers who cultivate and handle the commodity from planting to harvesting.
He explained: “We are concerned that there is the need to continue the boosting exercise so that raw materials could be available for textile industries. The cotton production is still a far cry from the capacities of the ginning companies, which is put at about 650,000 metric tonnes of cotton while production is still below 70,000 tonnes,’’ he said.
Speaking on the training, he hoped that the training would have a long lasting positive effect on the total output of cotton in the present planting season.
Pastor Adebayo Olayemi, who represented the President of the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), commended RMRDC and the Institute of Agricultural Research in Zaria, for providing cotton seeds as well as training for cotton farmers in the country.