Nigeria is revamping the cotton value chain. The golden age of cotton and textile was truncated after Nigeria discovered oil, which led to the closure of the popular Kaduna textile and other textile factories across the country.
Subsequently due to interventions in the cotton and textile value chain production increased from 80,000 metric tons to 133,000 metric tons. The number of factories in operation rose from seven to 23. The value of Nigeria’s cotton lint exports reached $64 million as of November 2022. An executive order mandating the military to patronise local textiles in producing their uniforms has also been a contributing factor to the growth of the cotton and textile sector.
Some 24 states are currently producing cotton in Nigeria with Katsina taking the lead. Nigeria has developed two varieties of transgenic cotton. These are aimed at addressing the issues of low yields, high production costs and insect attacks on cotton farms. Advanced technological tools like genetic engineering in crop production generate yields at economically viable scales for Nigerian farmers. Nigeria commercialized its first genetically modified crop, Bt cotton, in 2018, aimed at revitalizing its comatose textile industry and boosting economic development.
Since Bt cotton can resist the devastating bollworm and tolerate sucking insects, it helps farmers reduce their use of pesticides, thus minimizing environmental impacts and lowering production costs.