By admin       2018-05-03

KISUMU, KENYA: The Lake Region Economic block plans to re-introduce large scale cotton growing in the Lake Victoria basin after the Government lifted the ban on biotechnology cotton. Kisumu Governor, Prof Anyang' Nyong'o said negotiations had been opened with multinationals to revive the once top-cash spinner under the block bringing together 14 counties in western Kenya. He said the renewed interest in cotton farming has been informed by the high demand for Kenyan cotton in the US apparel market. Nyong’o said on top of the expected rise in demand for the raw material in the textile industry with the revamping of the Eldoret-based Rivatex, there was a big export demand in the US. “Kenya’s cotton export to the US through AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) is just about Sh4 billion against a total demand of about Sh500 billion,” Nyong’o told those attending Labour Day celebrations in Kisumu on Tuesday. The Act covers more than 6,000 products than can be exported to the US on preferential trade terms. He said in line with the Jubilee Government’s Big Four agenda – manufacturing, health, food security and housing – the Government had embraced the high yielding BT cotton and asked farmers in known cotton growing areas to shift focus to the crop for “good and steady returns.” “We are already in talks with experts and we will soon come to you with the plan on how we can leverage on these opportunities to create jobs and lift ourselves out of poverty,” he said. He said sorghum had already earned market at the newly established Kenya Breweries Limited plant in Kisumu and urged farmers to embrace cotton farming with the same zeal. The once thriving cotton growing and ginneries have been ailing over the last few decades. Most of the region’s ginneries closed down as farmers abandoned the once top-cash spinner. The bloc has entered a partnership with the Lake Basin Development Authority which has been conducting feasibility studies into the viability of cotton farming with plans to help reintroduce it.

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