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As COPMAN partners CBN on cotton farming

In a partnership working to revive cotton farming in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Cotton Producers and Merchants Association of…

In a partnership working to revive cotton farming in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Cotton Producers and Merchants Association of Nigeria, COPMAN recently held a sensitisation seminar for farmers of agriculture loans utilisation and repayment process.

The two-day event held on Wednesday, 14th and  Thursday, October 15th, 2020 will go down memory lane as the days COPMAN organised a national programme to mark the formal inauguration of its national recovery committee to go round participating states in the CBN/COPMAN Anchor Borrower Programme.

The objective of the committee is to recover loans for agriculture inputs distributed to cotton farmers, like cotton seeds, fertilisers, insecticides, herbicide, etc.

COPMAN is an amalgam of producers and merchants of cotton established some 20 years ago with a view to addressing the sharp decline in cotton production in Nigeria. Poor cotton production contributed to the collapse of the textile industries, with no radical approach by successive administrations in the country to improve the sector. In line with the determination of the Buhari led administration to diversify the economy and accord agriculture priority attention; COPMAN decided to partner with the CBN to revive cotton production through the anchor borrower programme.

From a record of 6,000 cotton farmer-beneficiaries in 2017, COPMAN’s participating farmers in the anchor borrower scheme consistently increased to 7,000 in 2018, 21,000 in 2019 and about 50,000 in 2020.

The two-day event held at Fatima Hall of the Kano Central Hotel was part of the practical demonstration of COPMAN’s broad objective to keep organising sensitisation workshops, seminars, fairs, shows and exhibitions towards identifying genuine cotton farmers at the grassroots.

At the two different sessions, selected farmers from 19 states and the FCT were subjected to varieties of lectures on modern cotton production. The farmers learnt how to obtain high yields from land preparation, sowing, weeding, fertiliser application, to subsequent harvest/picking, quality control, marketing and processing.

The occasion is important as the sustainability of the Anchor Borrower Programme largely depends on the repayment status of the loan packages. It also engaged critical stakeholders in the Anchor Borrower Programme

As the National Present of COPMAN, Alhaji Lawan Sani Matazu said: “COPMAN should therefore be seen more than a cotton-producing association but equally as an employment generating body as most of those engaged are youths that were automatically liberated from idleness and self-destruction to a more fulfilled life of responsible citizens.”

To fully achieve its outlined mandate, according to Matazu, COPMAN must enjoy the support of various state governments to provide arable land for its projects so that cotton farmers would be clustered in those lands, train them through, facilitate their saving from their income for at least two years and set them free to start on their own.

The ultimate target is to have cotton farmers shifting from smallholders to commercial farming. In this way, Nigeria will be put back on track to the path of greatness.

With an association like COPMAN, the dream that has eluded us for decades would surely be realised and Nigeria would bounce back once again as a nation producing textiles items fit for foreign markets. No doubt, COPMAN has the capacity to lead the way and spread its tentacles far and wide.

Let this clarion call be sounded to all and sundry especially state governments to, as much as possible, support COPMAN to restore Nigeria as a major producer of cotton in the world.

Ahmed Mohammed Magayaki, Gombe.

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