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Elgeyo Marakwet to partner with Rivatex to improve cotton

Elgeyo Marakwet County is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Moi University owned Rivatex Company meant to revive the cotton sector.
Marakwet Deputy Governor (DG) Wesley Rotich said according to the MOU, the farmers will be provided with certified seeds, pesticides, training and also market for their produce.
The DG said this will be a reprieve for the farmers in Kerio Valley who abandoned the crop due to lack of market and persistent pest attacks.
“Farmers from the cotton growing areas of Soy South, Emsoo, Tambach, Endo Sambirir and Arror wards will be targeted,” Rotich said.
Ali Kiplagat, a farmer from Chegilet in Emsoo ward said farmers stopped growing cotton after prices dropped to Sh10 a kilo adding that they were ready to go back to cotton farming if they are guaranteed a ready market.
He said farmers used to take their cotton to Salawa ginnery in Baringo county but were further frustrated after the ginnery failed to pay even the little they were offering.
According to Rivatex Managing Director (MD) Prof. Thomas Kipkurgat, the partnership will greatly benefit the company which requires an increased supply of raw materials to achieve maximum capacity.
“At present, the company gets an average of 10,000 bales against a capacity of 70,000 required annually and therefore the need to tap the potential of farmers in Elgeyo Marakwet county to get more cotton,” he said.
The DG said the revival of cotton growing will help the farmers economically in addition to enabling them to diversify their undertakings.
The country produces an average of 25,000 bales against a demand of 200,000 bales thus it has to import to cover the deficit.
By Alice Wanjiru

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