Gov Amosun
Gov Amosun

Respite might be on the way for cotton farmers in Ogun State as the state government yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with an indigenous natural fibre company, Arewacotton Limited.
The MoU which focused on production, processing and marketing of cotton in the state would allow farmers sell their produce mandatorily to the company at international market price.
The partnership, which is expected to address increased cotton and lint demands from local textile industries as well as exports, would lead to the establishment of an ultra-modern ginnery in the state.
The state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and the chairman of‎ Arewacotton, Professor Michael Olayiwole, signed the MoU at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
Amosun, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Taiwo Adeoluwa, restated the commitment of the state towards developing the agriculture sector to enhance employment generation.
According to him, the collaboration would boost productivity and foreign exchange for the local farmers.
He said, “There are so many benefits, Agriculture, with its value chain, is the third cardinal programme of this administration.
“We have always not been in doubt that the only way to put more money in the pockets of our people and to tackle the restive and large youth unemployment is to develop agriculture. It would help us to keep our communities calm and ultimately it will improve our security initiatives.”
Addressing the media, Professor Olayiwole commended the state government adding that the collaboration would empower 5,000 indigenes cotton farmers.
‎Olayiwole added that the partnership with the state woul‎d create multiple investment opportunities estimated at billions of naira.
He said, “When you talk about value chain, you have the cotton links, cotton cake, oil, cotton seed, seed oil and the residues, and even the straw on the farm, which live stock and cattle can graze, they are all useful, so, nothing is lost in cotton plant.
“Like I said, Arewa will buy off the cotton from farmers, gin in and get it ready to be marketed outside or within the country. The seed left will be processed to extract the seed oil and the case so obtained is useful to the cattle and goats.
“And if you talk about tonnage all over the country, generally, it is going to be enormous, its going to be billions of Naira if all hands are on deck and everybody is committed consistently.
“The agreement is for the state government to land, minimum of 10,000 hectares, the farmers who are supposed to form cooperatives would have allocated enrage, the area would be cleared, farmers would plant, we will pay lease to the government at appropriate and convenient time after sale. Arewa is there to mandatory buy off whatever is produced from the farmers at international price.”
‎Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ronke Sokefun, disclosed that the agreement is targeted at the cultivation of 10,000 hectares of cotton farmland‎ to be provided by the state government.
‎She said, “But in the first instance, they are going to start by clearing a thousand hectare. At the maximum capacity, we’ll be producing 25,000 metric tonnes at 2.5 metric tonnes per hectare.
“In fact, between 2017 and 2018, the processing mill which is called the ginnery would already come on stream.‎ Our role is limited to land provision and mobilisation of the farmers.”

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