Biotechnology can increase cotton production in Nigeria

The development is geared towards restoring the textile industry


[Daily Times] The use of biotech cotton seeds can give better yields than non-biotech hybrid varieties currently grown in Nigeria’ an expert said on Monday.

Speaking at an open forum on agricultural biotechnology in Africa, the director general of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Professor Bamidele Solomon, said that In the 1970s and 1980s, there were more than 250 textile manufacturing units in Nigeria, but in comparison, there are less than 25 units at present which are operating at around 40% of their production capacity and employing only a few people.

Meanwhile the production of cotton in Nigeria has declined to 120,000 tons per annum, which is less than half of over 300,000 tons per annum once produced in Nigeria.

Solomon suggested the use of biotechnology to increase cotton production and thereby restore the Nigerian textile industry; adding  that according to reports, field trails in India have shown that Bt cotton hybrids give 80% greater yield than non-biotech hybrids.

He said the use of Bt cotton seeds would enhance profits for cotton growers and more farmers would be interested in growing the crop, which would in turn increase the availability of raw material to the Nigerian textile industry.

Article | April 2, 2012 – 4:08pm | By Nkechi Opurum

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