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Rivatex deal to revive cotton farming in West Pokot

In the deal, Rivatex will provide certified seeds, pesticides and a ready market to the farmers.

In Summary

•More than 5,000 acres  targeted for cotton growing this year.

•Rivatex currently processing an average of 10,000 bales against a capacity of 70,000. 

West pokot governor John Lonyangapuo (left) exchange the agreement with Moi University cotton managing director Thomas Kipkurgat in Kapenguria.
PARTNERSHIP: West pokot governor John Lonyangapuo (left) exchange the agreement with Moi University cotton managing director Thomas Kipkurgat in Kapenguria.
Image: MARRYANN CHAI

The county government of West Pokot has signed an MoU with Rivatex to improve cotton production in the semi-arid area.

In the deal, Rivatex will provide certified seeds, pesticides and a ready market to the farmers.

More than 5,000 acres are targeted for cotton growing this year.

At least 300 farmers in the county are growing cotton at Chepkobhe, Riwo, Lomut, and Batei.

Speaking on Thursday in Kapenguria while signing the MOU, area Governor John Lonyangapuo termed the partnership a breakthrough.

"We are planning to engage more than 5,000 farmers in the county which is one of the best cotton producing zones," he said.

Lonyangapuo said farmers abandoned cotton growing due to lack of market, poor prices and persistent pest and diseases attack.

Rivatex managing director Thomas Kipkurgat praised the partnership saying the company will increase the supply of raw materials for maximum operations.

“We are currently processing an average of 10,000 bales against a capacity of 70,000 annually,” Kipkurgat said.

He said there is not enough cotton in Kenya and some is being imported from Uganda and Tanzania.  He said the factory intends to buy cotton worth Sh40 million.

West Pokot is the third county to sign the agreement after Kericho and Elgeyo-Marakwet. “This is a unique project, small scale farming where farmers need very little input but maximum output," he said.

Kipkurgat promised to offer attractive prices and extension services to cotton farmers.

The soil testing was done in 2005 and 2012. It established the suitability of the area for cotton farming.

He said that last year they gave out free coffee seedlings worth Sh15 million.

The county has embarked on an ambitious program to revive cash crop farming that has been on the decline for the past few years.

Last year, the county government distributed pyrethrum, sisal, coffee, sunflower, green grams, and tea seedlings.

(Edited by Rawlings Otini)