The National Cotton Association of Nigeria(NACOTAN), has stressed the need for the Federal Government to re- introduce the Nigeria Cotton Standard.
Mr Anibe Achimugu, the National President of NACOTAN, said the re-introduction was very necessary now, especially as the government was committed to resuscitating the cotton and garment sectors.
Achimugu spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the re-introduction of the standard, which had been in existence, in the form of cotton board, would restore confidence to Nigeria’s cotton products locally and internationally.
He said that although currently, Nigeria’s cotton was not rated high in the international market, but with the re-introduction of the Nigeria Cotton Standard, Nigerian cotton would have grades.
“I think that would enable us attract the best prices for our cotton products,’’ Achimugu said.
He said that re-introduction of standard would lead to establishment of high volume instrument testing centres.
“This centres will be able to give us specific quality parameters of our cotton, the fibre length, the strength of the fibre and the colour, among others, which form the basis of pricing of cotton.’’
He said that with this in place and with international accreditation and certification, “it means that Nigeria is ready to export cotton.
“There won’t be any argument with regard to quality; thereafter, we’ll attract the right value for our cotton.
“It is important that we re-introduce our standard rules and regulations in the sector and particularly re-enact the Nigeria Cotton Standard,’’ he said.
According to him, every serious cotton producing country has their own set of standards to guide operations.
He said though the private sector has taken over the industry in Nigeria, but it still required guidance from the Federal Government.
He said government has also supported the bedrock of the entire cotton, textile and garment sectors.
“And when I say bedrock, I’m talking about farmers; I’m talking about cotton production.
“Through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention, cotton farmers have returned to cotton farming and even attracted new cotton farmers into the sector,’’ he said.
Achimugu also said that this was because government has realised that the best way to support the cotton sector was to ensure sustainable good quality cotton production.
He said that in 2019, the CBN added cotton into the Anchor Borrowers Programme and they were able to identify 151,000 farmers and CBN supported them with input financing.
He said CBN also went a step further to source high quality seeds to ensure that products meet international standard.
He disclosed that these seeds were distributed to farmers and that the government has done its best and still doing more.
According to him, the CBN targets to support 300,000 cotton farmers, which means cultivating about 300,000 hectares.
“ That will support the entire value chain, bring back more players in the sector, the textile, companies will have enough raw materials to produce quality fabrics and garments, Achimugu said.