State undertakes to revive cotton industry

Tuesday January 5 2016

Cotton farmers at Muluanda Cotton Ginnery in Busia County. Unpredictable cotton prices in the world market and associated damages emanating from cotton subsidies is another factor that has delayed revival. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Cotton farmers at Muluanda Cotton Ginnery in Busia County. Unpredictable cotton prices in the world market and associated damages emanating from cotton subsidies is another factor that has delayed revival. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MUCHEMI WACHIRA
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The cotton industry is expected to be one of the pillars of the country’s development blue print commonly referred to as Vision 2030.

In the blue print, which covers 2008 to 2030, Kenya expects to achieve industrial growth if sectors like cotton and others will have been revived.

Kenya had one of the most thriving textile industries in the 1970’s and 80’s when farmers made a fortune from the crop.

It is in the early 1990’s that the sector started declining due to the influx of cheap textile products - especially importation of second-hand clothes and garments.

Textile factories like Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi) and Rift Valley Textiles (Rivatex) collapsed after this liberalization.

Why? Farmers could not produce enough cotton for the industries as their cooperative societies also became weak due to the stiff competition of textile goods.

This is what sounded a death knell for cotton farmers.

However, the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act agreement gave Kenyan cotton growers direct access to the US, a ready market but this did not work.

Nevertheless, the government came up with revival strategies such the Cotton Development Authority.

Unpredictable cotton prices in the world market and associated damages emanating from cotton subsidies is another factor that has delayed revival.