Cotton conference issues communiqué for revamping industry

A stakeholders’ forum on the revamping of the ailing cotton industry has issued a communiqué calling on the government to take urgent steps to revamp the industry.

The communiqué, which was read by Mr. Sylvester Adongo, a retired Agriculturist, was signed by cotton farmers, industrial players, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Agriculture, development partners and agricultural experts.

It was issued in Tamale on Thursday after a two-day consultative stakeholders’ conference on cotton organized by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with Ministry of Food and Agriculture on the theme; “Towards the development of a long term strategy on cotton development in Ghana”.

The communiqué said the cotton industry cannot be revamped without a well structured Farmer Based Organization (FBO) system adding that the FBO structure is presently confused.

It also recommended that in the near future, at least after five (5) years) cotton companies should be limited to buying seed cotton, processing and marketing.
“Government should guarantee input supplies at subsidized prices for cotton to ensure that production can be undertaken with less risk to ensure that there is an increase in production and productivity which is vital for a sustainable cotton industry”, it added.

The communiqué said cotton seed production is a major pre-requisite for the revamping of the cotton industry and a vibrant and consistent production and research programme should be vigorously pursued by the government.

It also recommended that a guaranteed producer price should be fixed annually and farmers adequately resourced to produce for sale to the ginneries adding that Ghana should explore the possibility of adopting the cultivation of Bt. Cotton to improve yield.

“The Government should float Cotton Bills, Bonds or similar financial instruments to finance short to long term investment requirement of the cotton industry and 2-5% of the total investment must be in the form of grants to undertake the development aspect of the industry”, it said.

The communiqué said a debt instrument with long term maturity period be used to cover the existing debt in order to enable ADB re-start funding of cotton companies and activities.

The conference also recommended a Technical Working Committee to be constituted to monitor the development stages of Ghana’s quest to grow a vibrant and sustainable cotton industry.

It said a collaborative arrangement should be put in place to check the importation of cheap textiles into our markets adding that Council for Industrial Research (CIR) and Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) should be resourced to train skilled manpower to meet the developmental challenges of the cotton industry.

The communiqué said the University for Development Studies (UDS) should start programmes in textile technology, fibre science and testing technology to assist the industry.

It said a properly equipped state of the art laboratory should be established in the north to facilitate research, ginnery process control and objective assessment for lint cotton characteristics for marketing.

The communiqué expressed confidence of the strong commitment from all stakeholders especially government and partner organizations towards the development of the industry.

It noted that the programme activities proposed by the conference if implemented will spur the development of a competitive, sustainable and enhance economic growth.

Source: GNA

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