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Govt gives incentives to Baringo farmers in bid to revive the cotton industry

The national government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry is seeking to revive the cotton industry by giving incentives to farmers to put more land under the fibre crop.

As part of measures to revive the apparel industry that was active up until the mid-eighties, the State Department of Industry has embarked on supplying cotton seeds to farmers in Baringo targeting increasing the land under the crop to 4,000 acres.

Speaking on Kapropita Primary School grounds on Tuesday during handover of a Sh2.4 million consignment of BT cotton seeds to Kapluk and Salawa cotton farmers’ cooperatives, Industrialization Principal Secretary Dr Juma Mukhwana in a speech read by his director, Joseph Mbeva said hybrid seeds will be distributed free of charge to targeted farmers.

Dr Mukhwana reiterated that the move is geared towards reintroducing the cash crop which used to do very well in the vast county up until early 2000 but was abandoned due to myriad challenges including price fluctuations.

Mbeva urged residents to take advantage of the seeds which, apart from boosting the manufacturing sector, will transform their livelihoods.

“We have involved many stakeholders including the county government because we believe they are the ones who are closer to the farmers,” he said.

The director who joined Baringo deputy governor Eng Felix Kimaiyo stated that the region will benefit from distribution of more seeds in the coming weeks from other partners including Rivatex and Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), which have committed to supporting farmers.

He encouraged farmers to grow the seeds this planting season in order to take advantage of the ongoing rains.

Mbeva’s sentiments were echoed by AFA’s Phanuel Obanga who revealed that the government has committed an additional 15 metric tonnes of improved seeds to be propagated at Perkera Irrigation Scheme in Marigat Sub County to ensure sustainability of the national value chain development project.

Obanga said they are forging a way forward by involving farmers who had lost hope after encountering challenges in cotton farming.

He urged cooperative societies in the county to be vibrant so they could benefit from support in the farming of the resilient crop.

Eng Kimaiyo while thanking the national government for reviving the cotton value chain in the county said the crop will greatly improve farmers’s economic standards.

The deputy governor noted that in last year alone, farmers from the region earned close to Sh6.5 million from cotton harvested and they are looking to build up the returns by ensuring that they bring on board more farmers.

Baringo Central Deputy County Commissioner Monicah Ithatwa challenged farmers from the county to embrace cash crops which she noted were lucrative compared to subsistence farming.

Ithatwa while calling for reliability and responsibility after receiving support from such life-transforming projects and programmes stated that distribution of agricultural materials and equipment is meant to benefit future generations.

The team had earlier paid a courtesy call on Baringo County Commissioner and Governor during their one-day tour of the county.

By Benson Kelio and Christopher Kiprop

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