Organic Cotton Production. Photo: Victor Olowe (Institute of Food Security, Environmental Resources and Agricultural Research (IFSERAR), Nigeria)

Cotton; Plant grown and woven into cloth in western Nigeria and many parts of West Africa. Cotton was second to groundnut among cash crops through which farmers in northern Nigeria made their income[i]. Cotton had long been grown by the people of the western region for their own manufacture of cloth, but its cultivation was intently developed by the Christian Missionary Society from the 1850s to introduce an export industry to the region. The road and the railway initiated with the influence of Alaafin Ladigbolu gave impetus to trade within Oyo kingdom, as a result, cotton as well as rubber and cocoa were introduced to Yoruba land and Oyo province got her share of the benefits[ii]. The clothing arm of the Dangote group manufactures a hundred percent cotton textiles from its cotton plantation, ginnery and textile mills into finished printed products[iii]. Dangote Group exports cotton to many countries[iv].

Lokoja was distribution centre for agricultural products, chiefly cotton[v], and a booming cotton industry in Sir Ahmadu Bello’s Northern Nigeria were recorded at independence[vi]. Experts for the teaching and growing of more Cotton in the Northern Provinces were imported in 1924 as a solution for the shortage of Cotton in Great Britain. Traditionally, individual families grew cottons in small batches at the substituent level.

[i] AFRICA July, 1973

[ii] Nations, December 28, 2014

[iii] The News, April 7,, 2003

[iv] The News April 16, 2007

[v] Guardian June 22, 2013

[vi] Guardian December 16, 2013

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer