Cotton farmers to benefit as foreign firms eye value addition

A farmer harvests his cotton crop in Thika. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A farmer harvests his cotton crop in Thika. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Cotton farmers are headed for improved earnings as a number of foreign textile firms prepare to set up value addition hubs in the country.

The Agriculture ministry says firms from China, Turkey and Brazil are at various stages of discussion with the government to roll out investments in the cotton industry.

Members of the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce are, for instance, expected to set up textile factories to boost value addition.

Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce vice chairman William Zhuo said talks were underway between members and local farmers, ginneries, spinners and the national government.

“Over and above the negotiations, we are familiarising ourselves with the industry value chain and are building partnerships with other actors such as the learning institutions,” Mr Zhuo said, adding that the cotton textile industry in Kenya had recorded remarkable progress in the last decade owing to reforms.

A Turkish firm, HoneyDeco, is also said to be planning to build factories and introduce high-yielding seed varieties in Kenya.

The firm has carried out a test on the new seeds which have since been presented to the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service for registration.

Interim head of Fibre Crops directorate Anthony Muriithi says Brazil is also working on logistics to start producing high-yielding cotton variety beside training and initiating classification laboratories.

“Brazil government identified sites for seed production in Kisumu and Homa Bay counties...We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Brazil government as other State agencies address other issues,” he said.