The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar has disclosed the hosting of International African Cotton Congress scheduled to hold in March, 2018.
The Minister made this disclosure at a follow-up press conference to the earlier one where she disclosed the readiness of her Ministry to host the 11th Annual International Shea Conference scheduled for Abuja, Nigeria, from 12th to 14th March, 2018. Thus, the Minister will be co-hosting two product conferences in March.
Hajia Aisha Abubakar however stated that the International African Cotton Congress scheduled to hold in March, 2018 will be in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the International African Cotton Association (ACA) and the theme for the Cotton Congress, she said is ‘’Mechanised Cotton Farming: Essential Requirement to Boost African Cotton Production’’.
The Honourable Minister of State remarked that “Nigeria is blessed with a very fertile land for high cotton production across the country” but decried the decline in the production of cotton which the country has been witnessing “for the past three seasons”. While quoting Central Bank of Nigeria figures, she revealed that the production figure shows a decline from 180,000 metric tons to 160,000 metric tons and 95,000 metric tons in 2007/2008, 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 respectively.” The Minister said: “This situation calls for serious concern to the Ministry as the driver of the industry and we are hoping that hosting an event of this magnitude like the International African Cotton Congress will provide us with an opportunity to revive the ailing subsector.”
Hajia Abubakar further disclosed that this year’s conference is a forum which will provide opportunity for learning best practices, new technology, identifying viable projects, promote regional and global interaction that opens new markets for the cotton value chain globally. She added that the conference is also intended to reduce trade barriers and also achieve sustainability.
She emphasized the commitment of FG to Agriculture and its drive to diversify the economy away from oil, “Nigeria therefore, stands to benefit immensely from the cotton sub sector through employment generation, poverty eradication, wealth creation, environmental sustainability and attraction of foreign exchange earnings.
In itemising the areas of derivable benefits to Nigeria from the conference, the Honourable Minister also disclosed that “The hosting will encourage participation in fruitful networking that will follow the delivery of thought-provoking papers by seasoned experts who specialized in African cotton production with reference to the key theme.”
“The conference will also provide an avenue to showcase the cultural riches of Nigeria via the tourist component of the event; it will serve as an avenue for trade exhibition of farming equipment and inputs that could improve cotton productivity in Africa”, the Minister concluded.
For: Deputy-Director, Press
Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment