The Kenya government to revive its dwindling cotton industry has take up strategically move to expand cotton production which for the counties in Nyanza regions would be part of 950,120 acres to be used for cotton farming. They will rely on rain-fed and irrigation methods. Boosting cotton production in Nyanza region from 40,000 bales of lint to 70,000 yearly, said Interim manager for Fibre Crops Regulation and Compliance John Adhola.
Adhola said that they want to exploit cotton planting zones in Nyanza â€” not only to reduce the shortage, but also eliminate poverty and improve food security.
These will enable farmers to earn billions of shillings yearly and at the same time help the government meet the ever growing demand for cotton in the global market. Adhola urged local farmers to increase the acreage for cotton farming to benefit more.
In the past, farmers had complained about low prices and exploitation by middlemen. The pricing problem that used to demoralise farmers has been sorted out through the introduction of transparency in pricing that saw the price per kilogramme moved from Sh20 in 2005 to Sh42 in 2013.
The government will provide well-trained extension officers to help famers and advise on market linkages.
The new varieties of seeds from Turkey and Israel are being tested. Also on the government radar are hybrid varieties from India and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Adhola said that they have launched education programmes to promote sisal production in Siaya county. They also want to introduce sisal as a commercial enterprise where farmers grow and add value.
They are working on how to introduce better technologies to deal with processing. They will partner with the county governments to help farmers plough their fields using tractors and use fertiliser to boost yield.
They expect the contracted famers to get value for their products and to be assured of resources on time as they venture into such a production to create wealth that will sustain them.
The extension officers are being warned against frustrating farmers willing to cultivate cotton and sisal in the regions.
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