The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar has charged stakeholders in the cotton industry to develop the sector as it has the capacity to bring Africa’s quest for industrialization to reality. The Minister gave the charge on the occasion of the 16th African Cotton Association’s (ACA) Annual International Congress which took place in Abuja, Thursday, 15th March, 2018.
Hajia Aisha said: “The importance of cotton to the economic development of not only the individual producing countries but also to the entire African continent cannot be over emphasized.” She disclosed that the world market value of cotton stood at USD1.6 Trillion in 2015 alone. This, according to her, underlies the importance of the sector to the economies of the producing countries. Hajia Aisha added that “Africa’s quest for industrialization can be achieved by deliberately developing this vital sector.”
The Minister lamented that most producing countries in Africa still export raw cotton with little or no value addition. She said, while Asia and India in particular produce 60% of the global cotton output, Africa can only boast of about 16% despite its huge potentials. The Minister therefore, stressed the need to grow and process the cotton in the continent to sustain the quest. She also urged the stakeholders to go into organic cotton production as it offers a premium price higher than the standard market price for regular cotton.
In his own contribution, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh described cotton as a miraculous natural fibre referred to as white gold. He said it is a vital crop in the cotton, textile and garment (CTG) sector, adding that “Agriculture has been our past and will surely dictate the economic landscape of this great country in the future.” He said, before the oil boom era in the country, Nigeria depended on agricultural produce with huge benefits from the cotton fields, oil palm plantations, cocoa plantations, groundnut pyramids and so on.
Ogbeh recalled that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew in leaps and bounds during the agricultural boom days. He emphasized that the discovery of oil was supposed to complement the agricultural exploits and not to replace it. and added that the current situation in the international oil market underscores the urgent need for diversification.
Umar Maryam Yusuf
For: DD Press.