Katsina state, Institute, collaborate –Special Adviser

The Katsina State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KTARDA) and the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, have urged farmers to embrace cotton production in dry season farming.

Dr Abba Abdalla, Special Adviser to Gov. Aminu Masari on Agriculture and Natural Resources, gave the advice, on Tuesday, in Katsina at a Farmers’ Field Day on Irrigated Cotton Production.

Abdalla said that the decision was sequel to the Federal Government’s plan to establish a textile and garment cluster in Funtua local government area of the state.

According to him, the state government had already established six demonstration farms at Sulma in Kafur, Ruwan-sanyi, Makera, Ajiwa, Sabke and Barebari irrigation sites. ”When the Federal Government revealed its plans to establish a textile and garment cluster in Funtua, we decided to use dry season farming to boost cotton production.

“The cotton we are producing is from rainy season, which cannot sustain the state to be number one in cotton production, and provide enough cotton for the textile and garment cluster in Funtua.“In view of that, we looked around in Nigeria to see where there is cotton irrigation production to borrow from them, but we found out there is none.

“However, we noticed that countries like Egypt, Burkina Faso and Niger produced their cotton through irrigation,” he said. The aide said that in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, 80 per cent of cotton was produced from dry season farming, saying, Egypt even has Minister for Dry Season Farming.

“In order not to make a mistake, we approached the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, for advice on the matter,” he said.Abdalla said that they used three varieties of seeds namely; SAMCOT 9, 11 and 13, which did well depending on the nature of the area. In his remarks, representative of the Director of the IAR, Dr Yahya Abdalla, said that as experts, they would continue to give the government relevant advise on how to realise high cotton yields through dry season farming.

Yahya said that no country could improve cotton production without using dry season farming, citing the experiences of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia that had gone far in cotton production, produced mainly through dry season farming.

Also speaking, Alhaji Abdussalam Musa, representative of Cotton Producers and Merchants Association of Nigeria advised farmers to embrace cotton farming, because a ton of cotton costs N350,000 presently. Musa commended the government for various interventions aimed at boosting cotton production in the country.

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