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Kenya firm on reviving ailing cotton industry
Apr '11
The Kenyan government is devising new policies to revitalize its troubled cotton industry.

According to the Cotton Development Authority (CODA) except for negative factors, the cotton sector would regain its lost glory over the next three years, as the country boosts its production to meet demand.

With an aim to lead the industry in the right direction, CODA has formulated a medium term plan targeting the small as well as large producers.

As a part of the revival plan, the Kenya Seed Company has been given the permission to manufacture clean seeds to resolve the issue which has dogged the industry for over years.

Also, there has been a substantial shift from the conventional mode rain water cultivation to irrigation through two invigorated irrigation schemes – Ahero and Bura.

CODA has undertaken production on around 2,000 hectares of land in Bura and intends to do so in Ahero in June. He even stated that, they are in talks with the regional development agencies like the Kerio Valley Development Authority, to involve them in production of cotton.

Kenya Agriculture Research Centre has completed the trials of the BT (Biotech) Cotton and would be commercialized from next year. This is looked upon to create the base for cultivation of rapidly maturing crop varieties with high yield and resistance against diseases.

It is recently only that the Ministry of Agriculture has raised the producer prices for cotton by almost two-fold from Ksh32 or $0.4 to Ksh65 or $0.8, which is indicative of the fact that, one of the nations' most overlooked sector is all set to draw attention.

Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra) recently said that, sustainability of the sector requires original internal solutions as outward solutions may provide only temporary relief.

Further, in view of that, only one-third of the land in the country is apt for agriculture; there is ample land which can be brought under cotton cultivation, to cater to the local as well as global demand.

Cotton during 1980s fed a well performing production industry, which caved in under the pressure of imports of used garments and thus left behind a trail of joblessness which is troubling the country till now. According to the approximations around 2,000 farmers were engaged in cotton cultivation.

An expert has thus raised a demand for comprehensive measures like banning used garments, providing subsidy for purchase of domestically produced fabrics and to cut down on imports.

He said that, the country requires premeditated policies and the political will to grow its textile sector, boost domestic consumption and develop a design culture to better withstand competition with designer goods.

Presently, the industry barely produces 40,000 bales as against its potential of around 200,000-300,000 bales per annum, and it is this disparity, that the steps initiated, intend to end.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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