Ruto pledges to revive cotton industry
By Anderson Ojwang
The Government will buy military and police uniforms and hospital bedding from local textile industries, Agriculture Minister William Ruto has said.
Speaking at the Moi University’s Rift Valley Textile Mills (Rivatex), Mr Ruto said there was need to protect the local textile industry and provide it with business opportunities to expand.
"I will present a paper to the Cabinet so that we do not import police and military uniforms because we can produce them locally. This will help create additional jobs and improve our economy," he said.
He said the new Cotton Development Authority would make cotton farming profitable.
Ruto said the Government had given certified cotton seeds to farmers to help improve production and ensure high financial returns.
" We hope through contract farming, farmers will receive better pay and the production of cotton would be high," he said.
Ruto said Rivatex operates below capacity, at between 10-20 per cent, and had only employed 300 staff due to lack of raw materials.
He said with adequate supply of raw materials, the company would operate at full capacity and create 1,000 additional jobs.
Ruto said the company may produce about 70,000 bales this year and the figure is expected to rise to between 200,000 and 300,000 in the next two years once farmers embrace cotton farming.
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"Farmers were paid poorly and that is why the Government has gone ahead to negotiate for a better package and ensured they enter into contract for prompt payment," he said.
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