Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The proposed foreign investment in textile and garment industry will bring cotton production in Nigeria to total extinction, the Cotton Ginners Association of Nigeria has cried out.
The president of the association, Salman Abdullahi, while addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, noted that all efforts been put in place over the years on cotton production in Nigeria would be jeopardised if the proposal is approved.
The association said it believes that well-meaning investors should rather help to develop and grow the production of cotton and not to bring it to extinction.
It said friendly investors should help the existing industry such as farmers, ginneries and textiles to survive and not to send them packing.
Abdullahi stressed that while the association is not against having genuine investment in the devastated sector, it believed it should be such investment that would further promote employment of the teeming youths especially at the grassroots which would help to foster security and peace for the country.
He stated: “It has come to our knowledge that there are some international organisations with the proposal to invest in Nigeria in the textile and garment industry with a proviso that they would have to be allowed to bring into the country cotton from their home countries to feed the proposed industries.
“We hereby reject this proposal in its entirety because of the danger it poses to cotton production in Nigeria and the devastating impact it would have on over two million Nigerian cotton farmers and their dependants.
“Beside, this would mean the end of over 52 existing cotton ginneries and with their huge investment lost apart from losing many textiles industry that are trying to come back to operation.
“We are indeed at a loss, by the assertion that there is no cotton in Nigeria. We are fully aware that cotton can be grown in 26 out of the 36 states of the federation. Cotton has been in existence in the country for close to a century. It is a major cash crop that contributed to the GDP of the nation and the development of not only the Northern Nigeria but the entire country before the advent of oil.”