The Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC) has listed some measures to revive the ailing textile sector.
The council said there is need to strengthen the competitiveness of the cotton value chain through enhanced capacities of stakeholders, develop and improve market infrastructure.
Others are the provision of additional support for cotton value chain development in terms of provision of jute bags to prevent polypropylene contamination, improvement and upgrading of ginneries; extension services/training of farmers and farmers’ empowerment.
Its Director-General (DG), Dr. Hussaini Dikko Ibrahim, who made this known in Katsina State, said other imperatives for the sustainable development of the sector include patronage of made-in-Nigeria wears, and foreign exchange restrictions from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The DG also said there was the need to improve the investment climate and the fiscal regime, while also removing tax on equipment and inputs as well as application of industry wide tax holiday.
Others, he said, are incentives to fast track the development of the sector across the entire value chain; capacity building and skills development; trade strategy, export promotion and provision of input funds as obtained in Burkina Faso.
As part of efforts to revive the sector, the RMRDC boss announced the release of over 20 tonnes of certified cotton seeds as well as 1.5 tonnes of foundation seeds to cotton farmers in the country for the farming season.
The seeds, which were sourced from the Institute of Agricultural Research, Zaria and Dangote Ginneries, Kankara, Katsina State, were released to the farmers under the auspices of the National Cotton Association of Nigeria in Katsina State.
The DG said the gesture was to further the Council’s efforts at promoting the development of improved raw materials for industrial utilisation in the country.
“Concerned by the declining performance of the Cotton, Textiles and Garment (CTG) sector, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) is motivated to continue boosting cotton production, so that the idle ginneries starved of seed cotton to gin can come back to operation,” he said.
Ibrahim, whose speech was delivered by a director in the Council, Dr. Abimbola A. Ogunwusi, said it was disheartening to know that out of the 54 ginneries in Nigeria, only 22 were functioning, and at very low capacity.
He noted that apart from provision of raw materials for use in the sector, the Council also supports Research and Development (R&D) in research institutes, mostly for the development of new and improved varieties of cotton, dyes, colourants and development of processing equipment and machinery.
“Recently, the Council conducted impact assessment, which revealed that the yield of cotton cultivation is still very low. This challenge prompted the Council to collaborate with Dangote Ginneries, which has the capability for the production of certified cotton seeds that can yield up to 2700Kg per hectare,’’ Ibrahim added.
He listed the challenges of the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) sector to include wrong investment patterns, massive dumping/importation/smuggling of all kinds of second hand textiles, and purchase and utilisation of obsolete machinery.
Others are importation of machinery, fibres, raw materials and other auxiliary requirements and zero monitoring of the industry by successive administrations.
The representative of Dangote Ginning Company canvassed the need to identify and punish adulterators of cotton seed.
The representative of the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, while commending RMRDC for being at the vanguard of cotton revitalisation, reminded the stakeholders that cotton production could only be boosted if the end users, i.e. the textile industries, were brought in place.
Katsina State Agric Commissioner, represented by Alhaji Umar Nasri, assured RMRDC that the state would collaborate with relevant stakeholders for the development of the cotton value chain in the country.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, said the ministry was committed to the Presidential Committee on Cotton, Textile and Garment sector towards ensuring that the textile and garment industries are in full operation.
RMRDC board member Prof. Sani M. Gumel assured that the administration would ensure that closed textile firms become operational, the ginneries functioning and farmers happy because of ready competitive market for their produce.
Receiving the seeds, Mr. Samuel Oloruntoba, the representative of the national president of the cotton farmers, urged farmers to judiciously make use of the seeds presented to them. He thanked the RMRDC and other stakeholders for their determination to revive the cotton sector.