The government has implemented a significant move to revitalize the cotton industry by increasing cotton prices by 38 percent. This strategic decision aims to attract more farmers back to cotton cultivation, aligning with the government’s plan to double production for export to the US market.
Allocation of Funds to Support Farmers:
The State Department of Industry Principal Secretary, Juma Mukwana, announced that the government has allocated Sh60 million to support local farmers. The objective is to expand the acreage under cotton production from 40,000 in 2023 to 103,000 in preparation for the long rains in the 24 cotton-growing counties.
Adjustment of Cotton Prices:
The pricing committee initially set the rate at Sh65 per kilo, but the government decided to raise it to Sh72 per kilo. This adjustment is intended to help farmers break-even and gain access to necessary inputs, fostering increased production. The government aims to collaborate with counties to achieve this production surge.
Addressing Cotton Seed Shortages:
To address acute cotton seed shortages, the government has acquired 60 metric tons from Togo for seed multiplication. Additionally, plans are in place to distribute over 27 tonnes of open-pollinated cotton seeds and BT cotton seeds to support farmers in boosting yields, meeting the demand for apparel in both local and international markets.
Modernization Efforts and Future Plans:
With an investment of Sh5 billion to modernize Rivatex, the government acknowledges challenges faced by the firm in sourcing raw materials. Despite the struggles, plans are underway to collaborate with counties and establish cooperative societies in each ward. The goal is to increase the acreage to over 340,000 within the next three years.
Challenges Facing Rivatex:
Rivatex, despite modernization efforts, faces difficulties meeting the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) conditions. The conditions mandate fabric production from 100 percent locally sourced raw materials. Shortages in the country force the company to import over 60 percent of materials from India and China, hindering compliance with AGOA requirements.