The Government will provide financial support and planting materials to over 5,000 cotton farmers.
Agriculture Principal Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the government will provide more resources for farmers to meet local and international demands.
“The government has undertaken a number of measures aimed at revitalising the fibre industry in Kenya. These include mobilisation of 500 cotton farmers in Bura area to be financed by Agricultural Finance Corporation, which has already been allocated Sh2 billion through the Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise development,” said Mrs Kariuki.
Certified seeds are already in production at the Bura irrigation scheme. She spoke last week during the opening of Fibre Crops Conference at a Nairobi hotel.
She said the government is determined to revitalise the fibre industry to boost employment, production as well as restore the country’s lost market share on the global arena. Cotton, she observed, was once among leading crops in 1970s and 1980s. However, introduction of Structural Adjustment Programmes in mid 1980s and 1990s by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank saw the sub-sector collapse. This situation has since created massive unemployment and abject poverty, insecurity and fueled abject poverty, unemployment and under-development.
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Collapse of the cotton and textile industry in Kenya has also resulted in flooding of the local cloth industry with inferior second hand clothes.
Government recent initiatives to promote locally produced cotton products through its agencies like the disciplined forces, schools, and hospitals is yet to bear fruits as the so-called mitumba market is still growing.
“The Government has designed a sound plan geared towards stimulating growth in the cotton industry, to create employment by local firms,” she added.
The government plans to supply over 50,000 metric tonnes of free certified cotton seeds to more than 5,000 cotton farmers starting next short rains season. “The state will also procure seeds from various seed producing companies and offer them free under a pilot project to the small scale farmers,” said Alfred Busolo- Interim Director General of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA). This process is set to begin from September this year through to October.