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 January 25, 2016 - 12:39 AM EST
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Agriculture - FG Seeks Assistance From State Govts

The Federal Government has called on state governments to support its efforts in improving agricultural production in the country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, made this known during his meeting with members of the Cotton Ginners Association of Nigeria led by the President, Alhaji Salmanu Abdullahi in his office on Thursday, January 22, 2016.

The Minister stated that the call for support on state governments was necessary because more investments and innovative would be needed to reposition the country's agricultural sector as an alternative to crude oil. In the words of the Minister, he said "We have to get back to business, thank God oil is finished. The Ministry has no land, all we need is to give the way and the ministry will drive the campaign among the state governors".

Ogbeh who expressed displeasure at the tragedy that had be fallen cotton production in the country noted that tree crops like cocoa, palm oil and rubber among others had hitherto formed major players in the economic growth of

. He said the yield of 300 kg of cotton per hectare is very low; stressing that, the use of biotechnology would be introduced to improve agricultural production in the country.

The Minister stated that the present administration would make agricultural practices an all year round operations with the provision of improved irrigation facilities in all states of the federation.

The Minister disclosed the intent of the ministry of convening a National Council on Agriculture to brainstorm with State Governors and other stakeholders on the way forward for the nation's agricultural sector.

Earlier, the President of the Cotton Ginners Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Salmanu Abdullahi who led the delegation explained that the association which is made up of cotton ginning processors, cotton producers, merchants and cotton exporters is the main link between cotton peasant farmers and end-users of cotton products locally and internationally.

The President lamented that as a result of the decline in cotton production in the country, only ten (10) out of the fifty two (52) Ginneries installed by the association were operational and produced below their installed capacities of 20- 30 percent .

He noted that African countries such as

Republic of Benin
Burkina Faso
depended sorely on cotton production to sustain their foreign exchange and
has huge capacity to produce more than local demands for cotton as well as export to other parts of the world if properly harnessed.

Alhaji Abdullahi said members of the association have both indigenous entrepreneurs and foreign investors who had made huge investments in the cotton industry; he called on the Federal government to fast-track the revival of cotton and textile industries in

for its economic growth.

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Source: News (January 25, 2016 - 12:39 AM EST)

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