Cotton farmers at the Bura settlement scheme are set to benefit from a contract that was signed with an aim of reviving the once vibrant sector. The contract will see Meru Ginnery purchase its primary cotton supply of seed cotton from Bura farmers who will later sell it to the newly revived Rivatex East Africa.
The contact which is a public Private partnership was signed by 10 stakeholders and took effect immediately. Last year, Rivatex received Sh503 million from the Ministry of Industrialization Trade and Cooperatives to buy new equipment.
Meru Ginnery will pay Sh52 per kilogram of seed cotton received from farmers, who will also get 1.5 acres from the Government in a plan to scale up cotton production under contract. The Government is providing 500 acres from a 6,500-acre irrigation scheme to farmers to supply the apparels industry, which is currently dependent on Chinese imports.
The signing ceremony brought together 10 stakeholders including the Ministry of Trade industry and Cooperatives (MOITC), Kenya Agribusiness and Agroindustry Alliance (KAAA), the Tana River County Government, , National Irrigation Board (NIB), Agriculture Finance Corporation (AFC), Rivatex East Africa Ltd, Meru Ginnery, Amiran Kenya Ltd and the Farmer Representative.
Addressing the meeting, KAAA’s Marketing and Information Systems Officer Thomas Mukhebi said that the Alliance is dedicated to seeing Bura Cotton farmers benefit fully from their practice. He cited value addition as an area where KAAA will intervene into and ensure that the farmers are able to separate cotton the lint and seed, the later which they can sell and make an extra income.
In addition, KAAA is mandated to identify, vet and approve willing private investors who are willing th embark of cotton farming at Bura scheme and so far, Guru Rajan from the private sector will be growing cotton on a 200 acre piece of land.
Following the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), the MOITC has been laying out plans for a textile city and an industrial park to improve primary cotton production. Kenya has almost 35,000 hectares under cotton, with an estimated 28,500 farmers and a yield of up to 30,000 bales.
Although the cotton-textile sector is projected to create 90,000 jobs in the value chain, and impact more than 50,000 cotton growers, up from the current 28,500, cotton lint production has declined from 38,000 tonnes in the 1980s to 5,500 tonnes due to a decline in seed quality.