Lusaka urges farmers to embrace cotton farming

Cotton crop at Sirisia farm in Bungoma County. [File, Standard]

Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka has urged residents to embrace cotton farming, citing a significant demand due to a shortage of the produce in the country.

During a meeting with a delegation led by Industrialisation Principal Secretary Juma Mukhwana and cotton millers, Dr Lusaka emphasized the economic potential of cotton cultivation, saying it could uplift farmers livelihoods.

"We have observed a decline in interest in cotton farming since the collapse of the Malakisi ginnery, but we are confident that this time around, things will improve," he said.

The governor assured farmers of a readily available market for cotton, unlike in the past.

He also said that extension officers are actively educating farmers on the benefits of cotton farming.

The PS announced the distribution of 7 tonnes of free cotton seeds worth Sh40 million to farmers.

Mukhwana highlighted the urgent need for locally produced cotton, as the current supply cannot sustain national industries for even a single day, leading to imports from countries like India.

"The cotton industry requires immediate attention, and our ministry is committed to supporting all farmers interested in cotton production," he said.

He further said that partnerships with county governments are aimed at enhancing value addition of cotton ensuring maximum profits for farmers.

Meanwhile, the County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture Monicah Fedha lauded the national government's commitment to revive the cotton sector, saying the move will see the Malakisi cotton ginnery that collapsed over two decades ago roar back to life.

“Our extension officers have been tasked with providing farmers with the knowledge of best agricultural practices. This is a step towards ensuring that cotton farming contributes positively to our community,” said Dr Fedha during a meeting with cotton farmers from Malakisi.

She said farmers are guaranteed a stable market, with cotton being priced at Sh72 per kilogram and the revival of the Malakisi cotton industry is expected to significantly reduce unemployment rates, particularly among the youth'

Sirisia MP John Waluke emphasized the importance of attracting additional investment through incentives and called for fresh leadership at Malakisi cotton ginnery.

“We are dedicated to improving the economies of scale across the entire value chain, thereby increasing the average production for our farmers,” Waluke said.