By Edna Mwende
The textile industry has received a massive boost after the government injected Ksh1.5 billion in the sector for the 2019/20 economic year to aid in the production of cotton which currently stands at 20,000 bales per annum.
Cotton farming alone will get approximately Ksh. 300 million from the kitty with Ksh. 700 million set aside to subsidize related industrial investment while the remainder will be used to hire extension officers to facilitate the revival of the cotton sector.
According to a news report by the Business Daily, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mwangi Kiunjuri reckons that the capital injection will enable farmers to produce at least 300,000 bales of cotton per annum by 2021 and this will go a long way in establishing the country’s position in the textile industry as it competes with East African counterparts Tanzania and Uganda who produce 700,000 and 200,000 bales of cotton per annum respectively.
“This is what we now seek to address under the industrialization agenda. We must first get the raw material supply chain right. This will be done by raising acreage under cotton production from the current 13,000 a hectare to a minimum of 100,000. We can produce even 500,000 bales of cotton per annum but the current projection is to hit 300,000 by 2021,” the Agriculture CS is quoted as saying by the Business Daily.
The Agriculture CS similarly revealed in the Business Daily report that cotton farming had the potential to employ 1.3 million local farmers which will generate wealth for both devolved and national governments.