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Wednesday, 03 May 2017

How Nigeria’s losing $6.5bn cotton export revenue

Cotton farming in Nigeria has received very little attention from various governments over the past two decades. This has however made the commodity to witness continuous decline in production. With its contribution to GDP dropping from 25 per cent to 4 per cent. Lack of improved seeds, access to extension services and low prices of the produce have been noted as the major setback over these years as Nigeria is said to be losing about $6.5 billion export opportunities in cotton annually. It has also been revealed that the country spends $4 billion annually importing textiles and readymade clothing, which could have gone into the pocket of Nigerian farmers if the industry is revived. Already, Nigeria is missing out among the selected 15 African countries on the share of cotton in product exports by the World Cotton Market on cottonguide.org, where Burkina Faso ranked number one along with Benin with exports of 71.5 per cent and 63.2 per cent while Mali, Zimbabwe and Togo possessed exports of 35.6 per cent, 12.4 per cent and 11.7 per cent respectively. However, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda recorded exports of 6.4 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively while Cameroon and Zambia also accounted for exports of 5.6 per cent and 5.4 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, Malawi, Sudan and Cote d’lvoire have exports of 3.8 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 2.2 per cent while Burundi, Ghana and Central African Republic possessed exports of 1.8 per cent, 0.8 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively. Cotton farmers, especially in Northern Nigeria, have been lamenting over recording low yield and returns despite working hard and investing so much in the production of cotton. This development forced many farmers to divert attention to the cultivation of other crops like maize, sorghum, soybean and cassava. Today, cotton which is essentially produced for its fibre, which is universally used as a textile raw material served as an important commodity in the world economy and is being used more than any other fibre. For instance, in the United States of America, cotton is a leading cash crop and at the farm level alone, the production of each year’s crop involves the purchase of more than $5.3 billion worth of supplies and service.

Source: Nigeria Today