- The farmers are currently weeding the crop having planted in June and July.
- Those who planted early, in March, are already harvesting.
Cotton farmers in Busia are worried they may incur loses this season as aphids continue to destroy the crop in farms.
Jairosi Cotton Farmers Cooperative Society manager Edward Oteba told the Star on Monday a local cotton miller that promised to deliver pesticides to farmers was yet to honour its promise, mid-season.
The farmers are currently weeding the crop having planted in June and July.
Those who planted early, in March, are already harvesting.
Oteba said the miller, which delivered cotton seeds for planting this season, had promised farmers that it would supply pesticides to facilitate the spraying of the crop to prevent attacks from pests.
Approximately three months after planting, the miller is yet to deliver the drugs exposing the crop to pests.
“We held a meeting last week to agree on what to do. We decided that every farmer should buy pesticides on their own because the people who promised to bring us pesticides are yet to honour their pledge,” Oteba said in an interview.
“We will have to act on our own to save the crop from destruction.”
He said attempts to get audience from the miller about the promise have not yielded fruit.
The cooperative society’s chairman Aggrey Emojong said farmers must now shoulder the burden of procuring pesticides for themselves after the miller failed to deliver the product.
He appealed to both the national and county government to intervene and institute policies that protect farmers from the sector’s stakeholders who are not keen on the revival of the industry that was once vibrant in Busia.
“They should have said in advance that they are unable to supply the pesticides so that farmers can plan for themselves,” Emojong said.
“Now farmers are stuck because some of them cannot afford to buy the drugs. The aphids are attacking and our members who will not manage to buy because of the high cost of acquisition may lose the crop before harvesting.”
Oteba and Emojong spoke 10 months after they expressed worry that the revival of the cotton industry may not materialise because of the numerous challenges the farmers face.
In November last year, the leaders called on the government to intervene and stabilise the sector that is key in the realisation of outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.
They said in the 2021 planting season most farmers were forced to plant food crops after failing to receive seeds ahead of planting, which is usually between May and July.
(edited by Amol Awuor)