The government has officially announced a Ksh7 increase in cotton prices for purchase, aiming to incentivise farmers and double yields for export to the US market.
According to Juma Mukwana, principal secretary of the State Department of Industry, “The pricing committee had announced Sh65 per kilo, but we decided to adjust the prices to Sh72 per kilo to enable our farmers to break-even, to enable them to access inputs. We want to partner with counties to increase production.”
Ksh60 million to support local farmers
Mukwana also revealed that the government allocated Ksh60 million last week to support local farmers, with the goal of expanding the production acreage from 40,000 in 2023 to 103,000 across 24 cotton-growing counties before the long rains.
“The cash crop is a priority value chain for the government’s Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda,” he said.
“The government has procured 60 metric tonnes from Togo for seed multiplication to alleviate the severe shortage of cotton seeds,” he added.
The Government plans to distribute 27 tonnes of open-pollinated and BT cotton seeds to aid farmers in increasing yields for both local and international markets.
Encouraging cotton farmers, Mukwana said, “I encourage all cotton farmers to take advantage of this price increase and support from extension officers to grow more cotton needed to fully revive the once vibrant ginning, spinning, weaving, and garment industries in Kenya.”
Despite the current production standing at 6,779 bales, far below the annual demand of 100,000 bales, Mukwana assured farmers of a commitment to ensuring an ample supply of quality cotton seeds and providing a ready market.
“The open-pollinated cotton seeds produce about 250 and 300 kg per acre, while BT cotton yields over 500 kilograms per acre,” he added.
Regarding investments, Mukwana disclosed, “We have pumped in Sh5 billion to modernise Rivatex but it is struggling to get raw materials, forcing it to import over 60 per cent from India and China. We want to work with the counties to ensure that we bring together farmers in cooperative societies in each of the wards, noting that the State plans to increase the acreage to over 340,000 in the next three years.”s
Mukwana also revealed ongoing collaboration with governors from 24 counties to procure additional seeds in 2024, aiming to elevate cotton production from 40,000 acres this year to 100,000 acres next year.