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Government targets 700 acres of cotton farming to boost production in Kilifi

The National Government, through the State Department for Industries and Cooperatives, is targeting to cover 700 acres of cotton farming this rainy season in Kilifi County, to revitalise cotton production in the region.

The government distributed 800 kilogrammes of cotton seeds worth Sh2 million in Magarini Sub-county, where farmers registered with Magarini Farmers Cooperative Society received the seeds to enable them start planting.

Deputy Director for Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), Fanuel Lubanga, who led the distribution of the seeds at Mambrui village, revealed that they are mobilising more farmers to embrace cotton farming to increase the acreage.

Lubanga explained that Kilifi County has great potential in cotton production, disclosing plans to expand cotton farming to other regions in the county, including Ganze and Kaloleni where climatic conditions are favourable to the nurturing and production of the plant.

“Here in Kilifi, we intend to plant cotton on 700 acres. We have stakeholders who have supported us with seeds. The Industry Department has donated 185 kg of seeds, spending nearly Sh800,000, and the Agriculture Department has also provided 700 kg of seeds, which is worth Sh1.2 million. These seeds are distributed in Magarini area, where cotton cultivation is  ongoing,” he said.

He expressed hope for a bountiful harvest at the end of the current planting season, stating that in the previous season, cotton planted on 100 acres in Magarini produced a harvest amounting to 70 tons of cotton worth Sh.4 million, which was above expectations.

With the increased market price for cotton, Lubanga assured farmers of maximum profit and adequate support from relevant authorities and departments in both the national and county governments.

“The cost of cotton has improved; last year the cost was Sh52 per kilo and this year it is Sh72. The price has gone up by Sh20 and that has been made possible because of the national government, which is greatly supporting cotton farming,” Lubanga stated.

With the help of already-set-up contracts with Thika Cloth Mills Industry, Lubanga assured new and old cotton farmers of a ready market for their farm produce, hence encouraging them to come out in large numbers to collect the seedlings.

Kilifi North Deputy County Commissioner, Samuel Mutisya, emphasised the need for more farmers to embrace cotton farming, adding that Kilifi is suitable for growing cotton as the plant does not require a lot of rainfall.

“I urge our farmers to collect the seeds and be keen to follow guidelines for planting and nurturing the plant for maximum profit. I also urge other stakeholders to come on board and support the growth of this industry,” Mutisya said.

He further stated that local expansion of cotton production would reduce the country’s over-reliance on imported cotton and textile products, hence supporting domestic industries.

Farmers who received the seeds, led by Kadzo Katana, expressed their hopes of improving their livelihoods through cotton farming while requesting the government assist in reducing farming costs so they could afford the production.

Through collaboration with the Kilifi County government, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has expressed hopes of successfully promoting efforts to produce cotton in large quantities in Kilifi.

By Jackson Msanzu

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