Kisumu County has renewed plans to revive cotton farming and marketing as it eyes to entice farmers who had abandoned the crop following the collapse of ginneries in Western Kenya.
Following lift of the ban on importation of cotton seeds, the county has received 12 tonnes of cotton conventional seeds, 140 kilos of biotechnology (BT) high breed seeds and 480 kilos of high breed cotton seeds.
The seeds have been distributed through cotton cooperative societies in Seme, Kobura, Nyando, Muhoroni and Nyakach.
Kisumu County Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDP) coordinator Isaac Dawo said they are expecting to harvest 6,000 tonnes of cotton compared to 50 tonnes that was being produced in the county.
“The re-introduction of the high breed seed has directly contributed to the increased number of farmers who are currently 600 and have cultivated 1,000 acres of crop now awaiting maximum yield,” he said.
Apart from distributing seeds, cotton farmers are also issued with pesticides for free.
Mr Dawo said the ongoing stock take on the project activities has found that the BT seed is resistant to ball worm, a stubborn pest in cotton production. Compared to other crops like maize and millet which fetches only about Sh17,000 from an acre of land, Mr Dawosaid the maximum yield of cotton translates to about Sh130,000.
He noted that the county has already secured market and the price for selling cotton at Salawa ginnery in Baringo County which has become an attraction to farmers.
Through ASDSP partnerships, farmers from Kisumu County bench-marked in Baringo with the Rift Valley Traders also known as Salawa ginnery, signing an agreement with them for the purchase of all their harvested cotton.
This comes as Rift Valley Textile (Rivatex) plans to set up a factory at Boya in Nyando Sub County.
Nyando MP Jared Okello while calling on the local residents to embrace cotton farming expressed confidence that the firm will create employment opportunities to over 300 people.
“With the setting up of the industry, our people will be able to have ready market from cotton farming besides offering employment to our people,” he said.
The industry will be built on a 2.5 acre public land plot at Jua Kali area along Kisumu Nairobi highway.
Rivatex has been dealing in tailoring and stitching of garments and has landed several government tenders for uniforms and they are looking into expanding their capacities.