Saccos will help strengthen cotton value chain, Kilemi says


State Department for Cooperatives Principal Secretary Patrick Kilemi has stated that the BT cotton seeds being distributed through Saccos will go a long way in strengthening the cotton value chain in the country.

Kilemi added that a vibrant cotton sector will reduce the cost of production per litre of milk and help address the shortage of the commodity in the country.

He added that the government is determined to establish a strong cooperative movement not only for the cotton sub-sector but for all the sectors of the economy.

“We’re reviewing the Cooperatives Act to strengthen governance and safeguard members’ funds,” he added.

State Department for Industry Principal Secretary Dr Juma Mukwana announced that the government distributed 15.8 tonnes of BT cotton seeds to farmers in Nyanza and Western regions to boost production.

Mukwana said the Ksh51 million initiative targets to woo more farmers as the government moves to revive the sub-sector.

“The farmers will also receive free chemicals and training to ensure that the crop is effectively managed for maximum yields to be realized,” he said.

Mukwana said the government has revived Rivatex and several ginneries in cotton growing areas but due to poor production, the facilities were operating below capacity.

Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) Acting Director General Beatrice Nyamwanu said AFA is committed to ensuring that farmers across the country have access to the right seeds to boost yields and income.

Nyamwanu said BT Cotton, which takes six months to mature, was capable of yielding up to 1, 500 kilograms per acre, offering the best solution to the country’s gap in production.

“So far, 20, 000 farmers have been registered through various Saccos and positive outcomes through the free seeds programme are likely to woo more farmers to the sub-sector,” she said.

Nyamwanu noted that the outcome of the programme will be reviewed after a year to assess the impact and strengthen gaps.

The government approved commercial planting of BT cotton in 2019 following a successful five-year trial which showed positive results.

By Fredrick Odiero   

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