The revival of cotton farming in Busia County is slowly becoming a reality after the government indicated that Muluanda ginnery will be operational by the end of May 2020.
Cooperatives Principal Secretary Ali Noor Ismail on Wednesday told a stakeholders' meeting that the government is keen on reviving the ginnery as part of a three-year plan to modernise cooperative ginneries at a cost of Sh1.3 billion.
“The ministry has identified cotton and textiles as a priority project in the national industrial transformation programme. Towards that end, and as part of the Big Four agenda, the President directed the ministry to revitalise cotton cooperatives in order to provide raw material to the Rivatex factory in Eldoret,” said Mr Noor during the tour of the ginnery in Samia Sub-County.
He said his visit, in which he was accompanied by local leaders, county and Ministry of Agriculture officials, was a clear indication of the commitment by the government to revitalise the industry which collapsed in the early 1990s after liberalisation of the textile industry.
Mr Ismail said that the government has now embarked on ensuring the factory is delivered to farmers within the agreed timeframe by using Sh30 million it has allocated for the project.
“We are working closely with the two levels of government to ensure this project comes to fruition. We will also work with farmers in the region to ensure you are fully involved in every step of this project," he said.
Mr Ismail said the delivery of the ginnery will spur industrial growth, improve people's livelihoods, create youth employment and help in value addition.
He regretted that cotton production in the country has fallen tremendously with Busia utilising only 3,800 acres against a national acreage of 100,000.
County Trade and Cooperatives Executive Judith Maketso said Governor Sospeter Ojaamong had prioritised the Muluanda ginnery with initial funding going towards fencing off of the factory and repairing its machines.
“The county government is ready to work with the ministry, area leadership and other stakeholders in having the factory up and running,” Ms Maketso said.
Funyula MP Oundo Mudenyo urged officials of the seven cooperative societies that form Luanda Union to mobilise farmers back to cotton growing.
“We need to strengthen our primary cooperative societies. I appeal to the county government to invest in sensitisation of cotton farmers to meet the target of our daily operations lest the factory becomes a white elephant.”