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Cabinet Secretary Chelugui urges farmers to revisit cotton growing

Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Co-operatives Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Mr. Simon Chelugui has asked farmers in Baringo and other counties with potential for cotton growing to revert to the crop.

The CS who officiated the opening of the ASK Baringo Branch Show noted with concern that farmers in Kerio Valley belt have abandoned the once thriving drought resistant cash crop which used to fetch them high incomes.

He expressed the need for the residents to return to cotton growing in order to benefit from opportunities that are coming now that the national government is committed to revitalize the textile industry under the manufacturing pillar of the Big four agenda which is a critical foreign exchange earner.

Chelugui said modernization of ginneries nationwide is ongoing thus urged local farmers to engage in extensive cotton growing in readiness to revamping of an old factory in Salawa, Baringo Central sub-county which used to serve up to neighboring Elgeiyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties.

The CS noted that Kenyan textiles is the most sought after globally and its products are now penetrating overseas markets including the United State of America. “It is possible for Baringo to contribute towards the success of the textile industry because it is one of the value chains that used to do very well in the past,” he said.

He said both levels of government are currently working on efforts to establish feedlots in Mogotio sub-county to support farmers in the county which is 90 percent dependent on livestock and crop production.

Chelugui who was accompanied by a host of local leaders in Baringo led by Deputy Governor Eng Felix Kimaiyo, County Commissioner Mr. Stephen Kutwa, Baringo Central legislator Mr. Joshua Kandie expressed optimism that the county has a great potential in making Kenya to become Africa’s powerhouse in the beef value chain.

He said if Kenya can slaughter and export four million bulls every year they will have created value for its farmers and give them enough income to sustain the sector.

Speaking at the same event, the Deputy Governor said the county administration under leadership of Governor Benjamin Cheboi is undertaking various empowerment initiatives and investments geared towards promoting agriculture as a means to achieve food security, alleviate poverty and enhance socio-economic growth.

Kimaiyo pointed out that the county has set up slaughter houses in strategic areas like in Barwessa and Loruk in Baringo North as well as an international abattoir at Maoi in Baringo South which has a capacity to slaughter 1,000 goats and 200 cattle daily.

He added that plans to establish apiculture infrastructures in Tiaty, Baringo South, Baringo North and parts of Mogotio sub-counties are underway with an aim of promoting quality honey production in the county relying on the crucial value chain to boost farmers’ incomes besides creating self-employment opportunities.

The ASK Baringo Branch Show, whose theme was “Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture and Trade Initiatives for Sustainable Economic Growth,” according to its chairman Isaac Chemng’orem, resumed after three years Covid pandemic break with about 40 exhibitors showcasing their wide range of products and services.

By Benson Kelio

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