Hope for Kenya's textile industry as PS Mukhwana promises changes

Industrilisation PS Juma Mukhwana (centre). [File, Standard]

There is hope for the textile industry in Kenya after Industrialisation Principal Secretary Dr Juma Mukhwana promised to revive it.

Speaking in Eldoret on Friday, January 13, the PS said that in the last three years, the Government has invested over Sh5 billion in Rivatex textile mills.

The challenge, he said, has been the lack of cotton and other support infrastructure such as ginneries. He said that this year the government has budgeted Sh200 million to support cotton farming.

Mukhwana urged farmers in Western, Nyanza, and Eastern regions to grow cotton to support Rivatex and the country to go back to profitable textile manufacturing and export.

He asked Kenyans to heavily invest in cotton farming, ginning, weaving, and spinning to support the sector. "This sector can be a game changer for Kenya," the PS noted.

He further revealed that Kenya is exporting quota and duty-free textiles to the USA and that it has not been able to satisfy the market.

"There is a huge unsatisfied demand for our textiles and apparel in the USA and Europe."

President William Ruto, during his recent trip to the U.S., lobbied Biden's Government and Congress to extend AGOA by another ten years.

In spite of the challenges being faced, the textile industry is exporting goods worth Sh34 billion in one year. Textile is the leading export by Kenya to the USA. One kilo of cotton is currently being bought at Sh360, despite a massive shortage of cotton.

The sector currently employs 50, 000 Kenyans.