Disclosing this to Daily Trust in Funtua, a cotton farmer and Chairman Gwaigwaye Cotton Farmers Cooperative Society, Alhaji Lawal Tsoho, said it is frustrating that farmers hardly get three tonnes of cotton from a farm that was giving him five tonnes 10 years ago.“Farmers here prefer to cultivate crops that will give them more yield than cotton because cotton nowadays has been a source of frustration to farmers as, despite the application of adequate fertilizer and pesticide, the yield has continued to decline,” Alhaji Lawal said.He also gave example of his farm where, he said he normally obtained 142 bags of maize but that in the last farming season it only gave him a little over 2 tonnes of cotton, a development which, he said, adversely affected his finances considering the money he invested in the farm.“Unlike some years back when if a farmer invested N150,000 in the cultivation of cotton, everything being equal he will harvest cotton worth N250,000 but nowadays due to its decline in price, the farmer will only earn N180,000 to N200,000 and in some cases less than that.”He added that the N75,000 price per tonne presently is not encouraging to the farmers but forcing them to abandon the commodity for soya beans, sesame or even maize and sorghum that were considered less profitable in the area.When contacted for comments, the General Manager of WACOT Ltd in Funtua, Mr. Sabirkumar P. Dey, identified poor seed quality, inadequate land preparation and lack of proper management as factors seriously affecting the yield of cotton production.“Majority of the cotton farmers are operating on traditional ways of farming. There is absence of mechanisation in land preparation such as ploughing that will enable a deep rooted plant like cotton to blossom; overall management training is also required for the farmers to know how to nurse the crop.“WACOT is offering such training to the farmers on pre-plantation and post-plantation management but there is need for government to intervene to achieve wider coverage,” Sabirkumar said.He added that unlike other crops, cotton is vulnerable to many pest attacks that require application of right type and right quantity of pesticides and at the right time.On the issue of the cotton price, Sabirkumar said the proliferation of synthetic cloths is negatively affecting the international market price of cotton which seriously affects the farmer.“There is growing preference of blended synthetic/cotton clothes by consumers because they are less costly and more durable than the pure cotton clothes. In this case the demand of cotton by textiles is significantly reduced as synthetic is to a greater extent replacing cotton.”He further explained that the market price of cotton is determined by both internal and external consumption of the commodity, adding that while Nigeria is a small player in cotton exportation, its domestic consumption is also very low.
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