in Sh70m Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has commended the national government for its renewed efforts to revive the cotton industry, saying his administration will fully support it.
Mvurya thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for choosing Kwale to be among the five counties with immense potential in cotton production, where ginneries will be built in a programme to revive the sector countrywide.
In Kwale, the Sh70 million ginnery will be built at Kinondo area, Msambweni subcounty, with Mvurya announcing that land has already been set aside.
“We have been struggling with a major economic slowdown because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic which have devastated the tourism sector that is our economic mainstay,” said Mvurya.
He said the county is set to have the first cotton ginnery after the national government and Kwale based Australian mining firm Base Titanium agreed to construct the ginnery at the PAVI Business Park in Kinondo.
Mvurya was speaking at a press briefing at the county headquarters in Kwale town when he received a delegation from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives led by the Cooperative Development PS Noor Ismail.
The PS, who underlined the need to support the country’s cotton producers, was accompanied by the acting Commissioner for Cooperatives Geoffrey Njang’ombe.
The PS said the country has launched a major cotton industry revival programme that will involve all farmers at the grassroots level.
“The purpose is to change the textile chain and increase manufacturing from nine per cent to 15 per cent and more under the Pamba na Viazi (PAVI) “cotton radicalisation” programme. Rivatex will buy all cotton from farmers so the market is there. We want to increase cotton production from 29,000 to 65,000 bales annually,” he said.
Ismail said the construction of the ginnery is part of the national government’s Big Four Agenda to increase the percentage of the manufacturing sector on the GDP from nine per cent to 15 per cent as it aims to revive the cotton industry.
The PS added that the government is fully committed to reviving the manufacturing industry and would also support the cotton farming and textile industries in all sections of the value chain as well as create jobs.
PAVI Cooperative, supported by Base Titanium, has been instrumental in the revival of the cotton sector in Kwale by supporting local farmers to plant cotton on their farms.
The programme which began with 100 farmers in 2015 has since grown to include 2,500 farmers cultivating 1,500 acres of cotton on their farms. Base Titanium hopes to expand the Kwale Cotton Programme to 10,000 farmers in the coming years.
Base Titanium community relations manager Pius Kassim said the mining firm is ready to help in the realisation of the ambitious goals for agricultural modernisation especially the revival of the cotton sector.