By George Munene
The State Department of Industrialization will construct a cotton ginnery in West Ugenya, Siaya County, in its ongoing effort to revitalise cotton production in the country.
Dr. Juma Mukhwana, Principal Secretary State Department for Industrialization, promised farmers pesticides and a ready market from textile makers such as Thika Cloth Mills and Rivatex East Africa Limited, and RFP– who provided 3,800 kilograms of free cotton seed to farmers worth Sh14 million at Bar Anyali grounds where the ginnery will be constructed.
Cotton produced in the county is currently transported 60 kilometers away to Luanda, Vihiga County, for ginning.
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The ginnery will be constructed along with factories making cotton-derived products such as soaps, animal feeds, and oils.
The PS highlighted the government’s commitment to returning Kenya’s cotton agriculture sub-sector to its glory days.
“The past two months we have undertaken similar initiatives in Ahero, Busia, and Malakisi. It is shameful that as a country we are still reliant on imported clothes when we have the capacity to make our own,” he stated.
He promised farmers up to three times more seed next year as the government had increased money set aside for the purchase of cotton seeds from the current Sh200 million to Sh500 million next year.
“In September we plan on being back for a field day to inspect the harvest and see what we can do better for the next planting season,” Mukhwana said.
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The PS further stated that through the government’s County Industrial Parks program which seeks to establish an aggregation and industrial park in every county, farm produce will be aggregated and value-added before getting good local and international markets.
“Through this initiative, we will provide loans to grow micro, small, and medium industries in the making of food and feed.”
Kenya’s cotton production has declined precipitously, from a peak of 13,000 metric tons in 1986, the country now produces around 2,000MT.