- The Sh 51 million initiative by the government in partnership with the private targets more farmers to revitalise the cotton sector.
- Industry Principal Secretary Juma Mukwana said the seed distributions will benefit farmers in Siaya, Homa Bay Kisumu, Migori, Busia and Bungoma counties.
Farmers in Nyanza and Western regions are set to benefit from the distribution of 15.8 tonnes of BT cotton seeds to improve production.
The Sh 51 million initiative by the government in partnership with the private targets more farmers to revitalise the cotton sector.
Industry Principal Secretary Juma Mukwana said the seed distributions will benefit farmers in Siaya, Homa Bay Kisumu, Migori, Busia and Bungoma counties.
Besides seeds, the farmers will also get free chemicals and training to enable them to effectively manage crops for high yields.
Mukwana who was accompanied by Cooperatives Principal Secretary Patrick Kilemi spoke during the launch of the seed distribution exercise at Ahero, Nyando sub-county, Kisumu county.
“The seed targets to boost cotton production in the country to provide raw sufficient raw materials for state and private cotton industries which have been revamped,” Mukwana said.
He pointed out that Rivatex and ginneries in cotton growing areas which the government has revived were still operating below capacity due to poor production.
“We have embarked on the establishment of industrial parks in the 47 counties where cotton and textiles will be a flagship,” Mukwana said.
The PS regretted that the industries are forced to source cotton outside the country in order to meet the high demand.
The industrial parks will actively engage in ginning, clothes and textiles to create employment opportunities for the youth.
Mukwana urged women and the youth to take advantage of the renewed effort to revive the crop to increase their income.
Kilemi said the seeds being distributed will strengthen the cotton value chain across the country. The distribution is done through Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs).
He said the program will also boost the dairy sub-sector with the cotton seed cake made readily available for the production of a dairy meal.
“With a vibrant cotton sector in place, the cost of production per litre of milk will reduce thereby addressing the shortage in the country,” Kilemi said.
He reiterated that the government was committed to establishing a strong cooperative movement not only for the cotton sub-sector but for all the sectors of the economy.
“We are doing this through a review of the Cooperatives Act to strengthen governance and safeguard members’ funds,” Kilemi pointed out.
Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) Acting Director General Beatrice Nyamwanu said the initiative will revamp the sector and boost production which presently stands at 3,000 metric tonnes.
The authority was committed to ensuring that farmers across the country have access to the right seeds to boost yields and income, she said.
“We must have the right seeds to help the industry from the continued lack of raw materials,” Nyamwanu said.
BT Cotton takes six months to mature and has a capacity of yielding up to 1,500 kilograms per acre, which provides the best solution to the country’s gap in production.
More than 20,000 farmers have so far been registered through various SACCOs which were positive outcomes for the free seeds programme.
Nyamwanu said the authority has partnered with county governments in cotton-growing areas to enhance extension services for farmers to boost yields.
“There are agronomic factors which must be employed for this variety to thrive. We have packaged the information and will work together with county governments to build capacity for farmers,” she said.
The DG noted that they will review the outcome of the program after a year to establish the impact and strengthen gaps.
“We will monitor how the seed performs in the various counties and make recommendations on where to keep it or use our hybrid seeds. This will then help the authority to establish where we are as a country in terms of production,” Mukwana said.
Commercial planting of BT cotton was approved by the government in 2019 after a successful five-year trial that showed positive results.