• Pamba na Viazi project was started by Base Titanium in 2015.
• The country produces 29,000 bales of cotton annually.
More than 4,000 Kwale farmers have shifted to cotton farming to improve their livelihoods.
Under Pamba na Viazi Cooperative (PAVI), cotton farmers are now accessing affordable inputs such as manure, certified seeds, besides forming cooperatives and finding market for the product.
PAVI is a community project which was started in 2015 by the Australian mining firm Base Titanium in Kinondo, Msambweni subcounty.
Its main objective is to empower small-scale farmers and equip them with basic agricultural skills. The programme is also part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.
PAVI board member Jackson Ndurya said the intervention of various stakeholders has made cotton growing in the county possible.
According to Ndurya Kinondo, the approval to grow BT cotton in Kenya is an added advantage for farmers. The crop is resilient to diseases, and matures fast, hence less costly to maintain.
Ndurya said the trials of BT and hybrid cotton have yielded positive results in Msambweni and they intend to try it in Matuga and other constituencies.
As a farmer, he expects to harvest more than 1.4 tonnes of cotton on half an acre this season.
The national government has promised to construct a Sh70 million ginnery in Kinondo to save farmers from going to Makueni for ginning.
Cooperatives PS Ali Noor Ismail said similar constructions will be carried out in other four counties to boost the cotton industry in Kenya.
Currently, the country produces 29,000 bales of cotton annually.