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New Wide Group to invest in Kenyan cotton farming

Jan '12
New Wide Group, which operates three garment manufacturing companies in the Athi River Export Processing Zone (EPZ), has announced that it would invest KES 500 million (US$ 7 million) in 2012 to support cotton farming in Kenya.

In addition, New Wide Garments, the Kenyan subsidiary, would also be setting up a cotton ginning unit in Kisumu town to strengthen the ongoing efforts of the Government to revive the country's cotton industry.

The company, which is the leading producer of Adidas garments in Africa, also intends to undertake research in association with Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) to find cotton seed varieties that will be more appropriate to Kenyan climatic conditions.

The research is aimed at transferring technology to cotton cultivators and to generate more employment opportunities for Kenyan citizens.

In recent past, cotton production has declined, particularly in the Rift valley, leading to delayed shipments. This has caused the EPZ companies to endure a loss of about KES 90 million in 2011.

Through its efforts, New Wide intends to increase acreage under cotton cultivation in Kenya, which would in turn, result in creation of jobs and enhancing the financial performance of garment companies.

The closure of cotton cooperative societies, low returns on cotton production compared to other crops, low quantity of production, use of old technology, lack of credit availability to cotton growers, high prevalence of diseases and pests which increases the cost of production are among the reasons that are contributing to decline in Kenya's cotton production.

In order to revitalize the country's cotton industry, the Government has passed the Cotton Amendment Bill 2006, which led to the establishment of the Cotton Development Authority (CODA). The Ministry of Agriculture is also encouraging farmers to invest in the production of cotton crop.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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