Busia residents give views on Cotton Bill

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The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Livestock James Kamau Murango has expressed the government’s commitment in supporting cotton farmers.

Speaking during a public participation forum on the Cotton Industry Development Bill in Busia town, Kamau who is the Senator for Kirinyaga said that the country has a potential of producing 200 million kilograms of cotton if farmers are well supported translating to Sh7.5 trillion income.

“It is very sad to note that out of the 26 cotton growing counties, Kenya is able to produce only 7 million kilos hence collecting only Sh 60 million,” he said adding that this translates to a mere 8% of the expected income from the crop.

He argued that if laws protecting cotton farmers are put in place, more farmers will be attracted to join cotton farming.

“If we do not get rid of cartels in the cotton sector, no farmer will be interested in the crop,” said the senator.

The senator stated that respective cotton producing counties will be mandated to issue licenses so that problems facing farmers can be addressed from the grassroots.

He urged farmers to form cooperatives so that they can be paid in time instead of waiting until their produce is sold.

Busia Senator Okiya Omtata urged locals to work closely with the Ugandan community so that they can live harmoniously.

Omtata said that Ugandans have withdrawn their military authorities from harassing Kenya fishermen in the Lake.

“So, we shall hold our plan to militarize the lake so that we can live harmoniously with our neighbors from Uganda,’ he said.

He advised prospective miners at Bumitiru gold mine to abide by government regulations adding that prospectors had insisted on continuing with activity despite the area having been closed by NEMA.

“The CS for interior was here and he advised that you wait for recommended equipment but people have continued with the illegal activity,” he said, adding that the prospectors only get 25% of gold while the remaining 75% is sold to Tanzanians in the form of soil which they process in their country.

The senator advised Busia Governor Paul Otuoma to engage locals in public participation when handling public issues.

“I have seen budgetary allocation for relocating the Agricultural Training Centre and other facilities,” he said, adding that the administration should present such issues for public participation before implementation within the budget.

Local residents were issued with copies of the proposed Cotton Industry Development Bill to read and give their views through their elected leaders within one week.

The document is currently before the senate and public views will be infused before it is passed by the senators.

By Salome Alwanda

 

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