- After the collapse of the major cotton ginneries in the Western and Nyanza regions, farmers gave up cotton farming due to a lack of market for the produced materials.
The government has started efforts to revive the collapsed cotton ginneries in the counties of Bungoma, Busia and Kisumu.
The state has started by distributing free seeds to the farmers.
On Friday, Principal Secretary Department of Trade and Industrialization and his counterpart from the state department of crops docket Phillip Harsama visited the ailing cotton ginnery in Malakisi, Sirisia Constituency in Bungoma County.
After the collapse of the major cotton ginneries in the Western and Nyanza regions, farmers gave up cotton farming due to a lack of market for the produced materials.
Speaking at Malakisi ginnery on Friday, Dr Juma Mukhwana, Principal Secretary in the department state of trade and Industrial said President William Ruto’s administration is determined to revive the ailing cotton ginneries.
Mukhwana said that they have been in the counties of Kisumu, Busia and Bungoma counties purposely to distribute 16 tonnes of cotton seeds worth Sh50 million to cotton farmers.
“We started this revival journey on Wednesday in Kisumu, yesterday we were in Busia and today we are here in Bungoma so that we can give our farmers cotton seeds and insecticides so that they can switch back to cotton production,” Mukhwana noted.
He added that the government is determined to ensure that cotton ginneries don’t collapse citing Rivatex Company where in the past five years the government injected Sh7 billion.
The PS noted that this year’s budget is not enough for the government to buy and install brand-new cotton milling ginning machines.
“This financial year we may not be able to purchase a new ginning machine but in the coming financial year we shall try and allocate money to purchase a new machine,” he said, adding that a brand new ginning machine costs Sh70 million.
“But to motivate us and see if you really need a new ginning machine here at Malakisi then work hard to produce cotton."
On his part Philip Harsama, Principal Secretary in the department of crops told the Star that Bungoma will benefit more from the government plan to revive the ailing cotton ginnery.
“The fall of Malakisi ginnery has negatively affected the economy of the region. We must revive this mill so that our people go back to their normal life,” he said.
Harsama added that cotton farming is done in 24 counties in Kenya attributing poor management to the collapse of the ginneries.
However, he affirmed that the government will support farmers in identifying markets for the produced cotton.
“We have markets in all the 6 ginneries in Kenya, if we work extra hard and produce more it will be exported and you earn cash,” he said.
He noted that the government has given a tender to KALRO to produce more cotton seeds that farmers will get.
Present was Bungoma County Agriculture CECM Monica Fedha who affirmed that governor Lusaka’s administration will support cotton farming.