By BONIFACE MULU
Cotton farmers in Kenya have been assured that there is an enormous demand of cotton in the country because the government is planning to revive all the 20 collapsed ginnery in the country.
The assurance was given by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) South Eastern Kenya Regional Manager James Baraza. The manager disclosed that in total there are 24 ginneries in the country. “And the operational ones are four- the Kitui Ginneries, the Meru Ginneries, the Makueni Ginneries and the Sarawa Ginneries in Baringo County,” he said.
The Kitui Ginneries Company Limited was established in 1933 and it is one of the oldest ginneries in the world. The AFA South Eastern Kenya region covers Kitui and Makueni Counties with the office being in Kitui Town.
Baraza was speaking to the Kitui County’s agricultural officers during a staff meeting organised at the Kitui Agricultural Training Centre by the Kitui County Agriculture, Water and Livestock Development Ministry on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 where the function was officially opened by the County Agriculture, Water and Livestock Development Minister Emmanuel Kisangau.
Baraza announced that they (the AFA) provide free cotton seeds and pesticides to all the cotton farmers in Kenya.
“We have enough seeds for you no matter the number of acres you have,” the official said. “I want to ensure you that we have already received some funds from our directorate to buy pesticides for our cotton farmers in the country during this season. The seeds are also ready,” he added.
Baraza announced that they are going to roll out a cotton farming campaign in Kitui County soon, adding that they are going to start with the county’s Mwingi North Constituency.
The county has a total of eight parliamentary constituencies.The authority official disclosed that a total of 15,000 acres are being targeted by the AFA for cotton farming in Kitui County.
The 15,000 acres are 3,500 in Kitui East Constituency, 1,000 (Kitui South Constituency), 1,000 (Kitui Central Constituency), 500 (Kitui West Constituency), 1,500 (Kitui Rural Constituency), 1,000 (Mwingi West Constituency), 1,500 (Mwingi Central Constituency) and 5,000 (Mwingi North Constituency), according to him.
The expert said that the cotton is able to withstand a dry spell. “This year we managed to put 4,000 acres under cotton in Kitui County although there was no sufficient rains in the region. So I want to ensure each one of us that this project is a project that can improve the livelihhoods of the people in our county,” Baraza said.
In his speech while officially closing the occasion, the Kitui County Agriculture Department Chief Officer, James Songolo Mbii, said that their mandate as a county ministry is to deliver food to the people of Kitui County.
“We are talking about performance. It is not about instructions,” the CO said. Mbii said the staff are given the normal transfers and that the transfers are not disciplinary. “When you sign a working contract with the government you accept to work anywhere,” the officer added.
The CO asked the aged and the ageing agricultural professionals to mentor the young agriculturists for the good of the knowledge transfer. He described mentorship as very important in the people’s livelihoods