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State increases cotton buying price in bid to entice farmers

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The government has increased the buying price of cotton by a further seven shillings to Sh72 per kilogram– a 38 per cent increase on the buying price for most of last year.

The move which was announced by the Principal Secretary for industrialisation Juma Mukwana on Monday, forms part of the government’s plan to entice more farmers into cotton growing to double the country’s cotton production and break into the the US textile fiber market.

“With this price increment, and improved extension support, we hope to upscale production enabling Kenya to revive its once vibrant cotton industry and meet its cotton production goals,” outlined Mukwana.

The PS informed that up to Sh60 million had been allocated to assist farmers in the country’s 24 cotton-growing counties to increase the area under cultivation from 40,000 acres in 2023 to 103,000 acres for the upcoming long rains season and 340,000 acres over the next three years. 

He added that the government has imported open-pollinated cotton seeds that yield 250-300 kilograms an acre and BT cotton which produces almost double that amount.

According to Rivatex Managing Director Thomas Kipkurgat, the revamped facility is currently operating at just 18 per cent of its capacity. 

“We only have 86,000 acres of cotton serving the factory against a potential of 500,000 acres,” he said.

This has necessitated cotton importation with three-fifths of the raw material coming from India and China.

This means Kenya cannot enjoy the benefits of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which permits duty-free access to the U.S. market given the textile goods are entirely locally sourced and produced.

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