Handlers of an extensive network of cotton farms owned by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Babachir Lawal, are expecting estimated 1000 tons of cotton harvest.
Trending News reports that Babachir Lawal is currently nurturing four cotton farms totalling 235 hectares, all of them in communities around his birthplace in Hong local government area of Adamawa State, all of them in high bloom, with buds close to sprouting harvestable cotton.
The farms were cultivated using biotech improved cotton seeds which are disease-resistant and prone to yields much higher than the old variety commonly grown by most farmers.
Officials of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, NABDA, who inspected the farms at the weekend, said the performance of the farms justified the investment in improved seeds.
The Director of agricultural biotechnology in NABDA, Dr Rose Gidado, who led some other officers of the agency on the inspection tour to the farms, gave a background to the establishment of the farms: “Around March or April (this year), the former SGF, Babachir Lawal, visited our office to say that he wanted improved cotton seeds, that’s biotech improved seeds.
“He got Bt cotton, that’s bollgard II cotton which is treated to resist pink bollworm. He bought the improved seeds and headed back to Hong, and the result as we see today has met expectations. Looking at the vast expanses of land in which thriving cotton has become evident, I believe he is going to have bountiful harvests.”
According to her, Babachir’s genetically engineered bollworm-resistant Bt cotton variety could produce between 4.1 and 4.4 tons of cotton per hectare.
“For each hectare, with the good agronomy practices that we see here, there is a potential yield of 4.1 to 4.4 tons per hectare. The worst you can get here is 3.5 tons per hectare,” she said.
The Manager of the farms, Malam Abdullahi Shelleng, expressed optimism for even higher yields, explaining, “There is a great difference between the old variety and this modified cotton variety. From the old variety you may have just two tons per hectare, while with this improved variety, you could get between five and six tons per hectare.”
The four farms in Babachir Lawal’s cotton venture, which come under different names in their separate locations, are Gudi Farm, 78 hectares; Uvudu Farm, 27 hectares; Wurobaya Farm, 35 hectares; and Mbilinyi Farm, 95 hectares.