Baringo farmers receive seeds in move to revive cotton farming

Cotton seeds account for two-thirds of the weight of what is harvested. Oil and seed cake can be extracted from the seeds. [Gardy Chacha, Standard]

Baringo County is committed to reviving cotton farming, which was once a major cash crop offering a livelihood to many farmers in the county.

On Wednesday, the County Agriculture Executive (CEC) Risper Chepkong’a distributed 400 kilograms (Kg) of hybrid seeds to farmers in Kerio Valley in collaboration with Rivatex.

Chepkong’a said that the county has the potential to produce 600 tonnes of cotton, promising to support farmers in ensuring good results are achieved.

The county, she said, will support over 1,000 registered farmers with 1500kg of BT cotton, 750kg of hybrid, and 30,000kg of fuzzy seed to cover 2,500 acres.

“The county is keen on promoting cotton farming to help generate income and improve livelihoods,” the CEC said.

She noted that cotton was one of the value chains the county prioritised to transform the economy and create employment.

In parts of Baringo North, Mogotio, and Marigat, Chepkong’a explained that farmers have embraced the growing of the crop and will benefit from the cotton seed.

“We have beneficiaries of cotton seeds in the Tiaty sub-county within Kolowa who want to practice cotton planting,” she added.

In 2023, she revealed that farmers received 100kilos of hybrids with 5,000Kg fuzzy seeds for planting which has seen an improvement to 685 acres compared to 225 acres in 2022.

“In the 2023 cropping season, 117,071kg of AR and 268 kilograms of BR cotton were harvested and sold, earning our farmers Sh6.4 million,” she added.

She advised farmers to use the BT cotton variety, which has a higher yield than the normal fuzzy seed.

The official said her department will support farmers in ensuring the growth and sustainability of the cotton farming sector by empowering them through subsidized input, capacity building, and increasing access to credit facilities.

“As a county, we are committed to establishing cotton processing facilities, creating value-added products, and expanding market linkage to yield higher returns for cotton farmers, which will contribute to the development of the cotton industry,” she said.

The assistant director of agriculture, Elphas Rutto, noted that if farmers observe agronomic practices, there will be an increase in productivity and income for cotton farmers.

Rift Valley products, he said, have played a role in supplying seeds and off-taking the end product.