How To Start A Lucrative Cotton Farming & Production Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide
Cotton is one of the most demanded cash crops in the world because of its uses in the production of fabric in the clothing industry.
In simple terms, as long as people keep wearing clothes, there would always be a high demand for cotton.
Cotton does not only just contribute to the economic output of any nation that grows it, but can also be beneficial to the health of the people, as the seeds produce healthy oil, which are great sources of Vitamin E and low in cholesterol.
Before Nigeria’s focus on oil, cotton exports accounted for about 25% of country’s Gross domestic product (GDP), but after the oil adjustment, cotton exportation reduced drastically and presently accounts for around 5% of Nigeria’s Gross domestic product (GDP).
If you want to take advantage of the vast global demand for cotton in the fashion industry worldwide, here’s how to start cotton farming in Nigeria:
What Is Cotton?
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll or protective case, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium, in the mallow family Malvaceae.
What Is Cotton Farming And Production About?
Cotton farming is the complete process of cotton cultivation from the clearing of the farmland to the planting of seedlings and finally the harvesting of the cotton plant for both local consumption, commercial purposes, and exportation.
While cotton production are all the procedures involved in conversion of raw cotton plants into processed cotton fabric.
Business Opportunities In Cotton Farming And Productions Around The World
1). Textiles Productions:
Cotton bolls are used in producing cotton fiber used in textile production.
2). Production Of Computer chipboards:
Cotton seeds when crushed and processed can be used in the production of computer chipboards.
3). Production Of Plastic:
Cotton seeds when crushed and processed can also be used in the production of plastics.
4). Edible Oil Productions:
Cotton seeds are rich in edible oil.
Facts And Benefits Of Cotton
- Cotton has been grown for food, fiber, and fuel for over 6,000 years.
- The world uses more cotton fabrics more than other materials.
- Cotton is a part of our daily lives as its uses are just innumerable, like in the production of towels, clothes, bedsheets, stockings and much more.
- All parts of the cotton plant are useful, as the seeds provide oil, plastics, and explosives. The buds for making fabric and the stalk for production of manure.
- Cotton remains one of the leading cash crops in the world.
- Cotton is easier to wash and care for than other fabrics.
- Cottonseed oil contains a high amount of antioxidants which are essential for good health.
- Cottonseed oil is low in cholesterol.
- Cottonseed oil is used in the production of cosmetics.
- Cotton farming is a great source of employment
- You can earn anywhere from 20% to sometimes over 100% profit margins, trading rubber locally and internationally
Types Of Cotton
1). Pima Cotton:
Pima is considered the best quality of cotton on earth. It has extra-long fibers which makes it extra soft and extra strong. This kind of cotton is only used in the production of luxurious fabrics.
2). Gossypium Hirsutum:
Gossypium hirsutum accounts for about 90% of the cotton produced in the world. It is commonly known as upland cotton. Upland cotton has relatively short fibers.
3). Gossypium Arboreum:
Gossypium arboreum accounts for about 2% of cotton production. It is commonly known as tree cotton. This variant is local to India and Pakistan, and are used mainly in the production of muslin.
Muslin is a gauzy fabric that offers immense breathability while maintaining its form over time. Muslin is used in cooking as a filter, as well as in the medical world as a gauze.
4). Gossypium Herbaceum:
Gossypium herbaceum also is known as Levant cotton. it is native to southern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Also, it accounts for less than 2% of the global market. Levant cotton is primarily spun into yarns to make a variety of fabrics.
In addition to its use in clothing, societies in the developing world turn to this cotton, for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of nausea, headaches, fevers, haemorrhages, and diarrhoea.
How To Start Cotton Farming In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide
1). Select A Suitable Site:
Cotton does not require very fertile farmland. This is because cotton is a very tolerant crop and grows well on poor soils. Notwithstanding, loamy soil is best for cotton farming. Cotton thrives on a neutral soil PH of 5.5.
Cotton seeds are planted on ridges because cotton grows into shrubs. Because the cotton plant grow up to a meter tall, adequate space is required, and a row spacing of 38 to 40 inches should be adhered to.
A number of 3 seeds should be planted per hole and it should be about an inch deep. A 4 inch spacing between each plant is necessary.
3). Crop Maintenance:
The cotton crop begins to sprout about a week or two after planting. The plants then blossoms into shrubs. Cream and pink colored flowers emerge briefly and give way to fruit at pollination. But during this process, you need to weed the farmland, to ensure the cotton plants are given optimal growing conditions. Pest control is also necessary within this period. This is because your crop is likely to be attacked by pests. Proper pest control eliminates pest and limits losses.
4). Cotton Harvest:
The next stage involves picking the cotton. Cotton is usually harvested with the seed and gathered into bales. The cotton ginnery is where it is sent for separation. Here, the fluffy lint is separated from the seeds.
5). Cotton Processing And Production
A traditional and still common processing method is ring spinning. It is a process where the mass of cotton is subjected to opening, cleaning, picking, carding, combing, drawing, roving, and spinning.
The cotton bale is opened, and its fibers are raked mechanically to remove foreign matter (e.g., soil and seeds). A picker (picking machine) then wraps the fibers into a lap. A card (carding) machine brushes the loose fibers into rows that are joined as a soft sheet, or web, and forms them into loose untwisted ropes known as card sliver.
For higher-quality yarn, card sliver is put through a combing machine, which straightens the staple further and removes unwanted short lengths, or noils.
In the drawing (drafting) stage, a series of variable-speed rollers attenuates and reduces the sliver to firm uniform strands of usable sizes.
Thinner strands are produced by the roving (slubbing) process, in which the silver is converted to roving by being pulled and being slightly twisted.
Finally, the roving is transferred to a spinning frame, where it is further drawn, twisted on a ring spinner, and wound on a bobbin as yarn.
Challenges Of Cotton Farming In Nigeria
- Poor funding of research activities
- Pest and diseases
- Bush burning
- It is a seasonal business as the cashew nuts are only gathered during a season once a year. So production cannot happen all year round.
- Lack of highly efficient storage facilities for the unprocessed nuts
- Lack of capital for large scale production
- Lack of easy access to the international market by most cashew nuts farmers in Nigeria
- Instability of the international market price of Cashew Nuts
- Lack of adequate government assistance
- Lack of adequate widespread knowledge on how to produce high-quality Cashew Nuts In Nigeria
- Lack of funds to import international standard Cashew Nuts processing machinery into Nigeria
- Thieves and criminals
With Nigeria being the sixth-largest cotton producing country in Africa and the 22nd globally, the vast opportunity to venture into cotton farming in Nigeria remains immense and lucrative for new and existing farmers or entrepreneurs in the country.
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