The President, National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN),Mr Anibe Achimugu, says cotton has capacity to contribute not less than 15 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) if properly harnessed.
Achimugu, who made this known in an interview with News men in Abuja, said as a cash crop, cultivated in most states of the Federation, cotton could help turn the country’s fortune around as it did before the oil boom.
He decried that while cotton contributed immensely to the country’s GDP in the past, a lot of factors had militated against the survival of the cotton value chain.
This he said included closure of textile industries in some parts of the country, poor infrastructure among others.
“At the moment it is difficult to specify cotton’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP and that is part of what the association is trying to do, to gather the required data to be able to say what our statistics are in terms of contribution to GDP.
“In the past it was significant with the sector being second in terms of employment and all of that.
“As we speak private companies in Nigeria are exporting cotton, which is not much of a problem.
“The problem is infrastructure and logistics. You are dealing with poor roads and congestion of the ports.
“Also, the cotton products from Nigeria unfortunately suffer negative perception on quality but then sometimes it is not a perception but a reality because maybe, we are not taking care of the quality issue from the beginning.
“So, if we target even having a 10 per cent to 15 per cent contribution to GDP I think is not bad.
“We can achieve it because we have the population, land and the farmers and as we speak there are investors that are willing to come in to establish factories.
“At least 31 states of the federation can produce cotton, with Katsina still being the largest cotton producing state,” he said.
He commended the present administration for its determination to revamp the sub sector.