In a significant move to revitalize the cotton industry, the Kenyan government, in consultation with stakeholders, has decided to increase the price of cotton from Sh52 to Sh65 per kilogram. Principal Secretary of the State Department for Industry, Dr. Juma Mukhwana, announced the decision, highlighting the decline of cotton, once a major cash crop in 24 counties, due to the low prices of cotton lint.
According to Kenya News Agency, Dr. Mukhwana stated that this price increase, effective immediately in all cotton-growing regions, aligns with the government's Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda. The initiative aims to encourage farmers to boost production, helping the country achieve its cotton production goals. "It is envisaged that this increment coupled with revamped extension support will make the farmers upscale production for the country to attain its goal in cotton production," said the PS.
In a press statement, Dr. Mukhwana urged cotton farmers to capitalize on this price hike and the support from extension officers to rejuvenate the once-thriving ginning, spinning, weaving, and garment industries in Kenya. He emphasized the cotton value chain's potential to create one million jobs by 2030, reduce Kenya's import bill for textiles worth over Sh1.7 billion, and produce valuable by-products like lint, oil, and seedcake for animal feeds.
The current cotton production stands at 6,779 bales, significantly lower than the annual demand of 100,000 bales. The PS attributed this shortfall to inadequate seed supply and previously low farm gate prices. Dr. Mukhwana assured farmers of the government's commitment to ensuring an adequate supply of cotton seeds and a ready market for their produce.
Efforts are underway, in collaboration with Governors from 24 counties, to purchase and distribute more seeds in 2024. The goal is to expand cotton cultivation from 40,000 acres this year to 100,000 acres next year. "Currently, we have seven operational ginneries. Three new ginneries will be built in Homa Bay, Kwale, and Lamu counties in partnership with the private sector," he revealed, underscoring the government's dedication to reviving the cotton industry.