Cotton farmers in Embu County will soon benefit from a Ksh 200 million ginnery in as the government embarks on reviving the cotton sector.
The National Government financed ginnery will process cotton cultivated in Embu and neighbouring counties.
Dr Jamleck Muturi, Embu Agriculture Executive (CEC) member revealed that the Embu County Government will provide land for the ginnery in the Mbeere region.
“Cotton was the economic mainstay for farmers in the dry, lower parts of the County in the 1980s and 90s, but it has been declining due to low returns and pests infestation. The National Government has an agenda to revive cotton productivity and profitability. We have partnered in this,” noted Dr Muturi.
Muturi said that farmers had abandoned cotton farming such that last year the County produced only 1,500kgs despite its capacity to produce out millions of kilograms.
“Jointly with the National Government we will sensitize, recruit and train the farmers, help them form cooperatives, provide them with free high-quality seeds-hybrids and BT cotton, while the ginnery will provide a ready market for the crop,” added Dr Muturi.
The Executive said with the ginnery they anticipate producing 1.4 million kilograms of cotton annually, while the produce from counties such as Kirinyaga and Tharaka-Nithi that neighbours Embu will ensure the continuous inflow of raw materials to the ginnery.
Dr Muturi was speaking during a visit to Embu by members of The National Steering Committee on the Revitalization and Revival of Cotton and Pyrethrum Value Chains on a fact-finding mission on cotton farming.
Chairman of the Sub-committee on cotton, Mwarapayo Wamwachai, said they plan to set up five ginneries to serve the 21 cotton growing counties which have necessitated the need for fact-finding.
Wamwachai noted that in the State’s agenda to promote industrial crops, cotton farming was set to become a leading cash-crop for feeding the revived textile factories such as Kicomi and Rivatex.
“We are moving from County to County to determine where to put up ginneries. The government will also distribute seeds to farmers and provide technical officers to equip farmers with skills and expertise on cotton farming,” noted Wamwachai.
He added that the Committee is impressed by the plans Embu County Government has put in place in its cotton revival agenda.
The ginnery is expected to create employment opportunities and ultimately improve the livelihoods of farmers.