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Investing in technology key in quality cotton production

As demand for fine cotton in the country rises and the “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” initiative takes shape, textile industries are investing heavily in new machinery and technology thus opening doors to improved quality, enhanced profits and competitiveness in the global market.

An employee running machine processes at Thika Cloths mills. Photo by Muoki Charles

One of those companies is Thika cloths Mill, a major textile industry in the country which is reaping big from increased cotton supplies after entering into agreement with farmers to buy all their produce.

The firm has invested heavily in new manufacturing technologies to improve on processing quality of fibre that meet international standards and that are globally competitive.

Thika Cloths Mills CEO Tejal Dodhia said the government’s continued support to the local cotton manufacturing industries has pushed farmers to embrace cotton farming and eased supplies to their firms.

Addressing cotton farmers from Malindi in Kilifi County who had toured the firm today, Tejal said her company had to venture into more innovative manufacturing technologies to streamline production and improve on quality.

She maintained that continuous review of the manufacturing systems is essential to textile firms if they are to stay competitive and relevant globally.

The new machines she said will not only improve the quality of their products but will increase the company’s revenue.

“This new breed of BT cotton is of high quality, clean and whiter than the ordinary cotton and requires new machines in value addition. The equipment is also faster in processing and time saving,” she said.

She was upbeat that as a buyer, that she would no longer be importing cotton from neighbouring countries as all indicators pointed to a bumper harvest in the country following the introduction of the BT variety.

Her company has in the past few years helped farmers grow the crop, after coming up with vigorous cotton reviving campaigns and distributing free seeds and pesticides amongst other farm inputs.

The cotton farmers were taken through the processing system in the factory. The company has been contracted to make fabric for school uniforms and garments for disciplined forces including KDF, GSU, Prison, NYS and the Kenya Police.

Alex Mwangemi, Magarini cotton farmer’s cooperative society chairman said market assurances motivated them to start large scale cotton production.

Mwangemi who led the farmers from Malindi and Kilifi said cotton farming had given them hope as they barely receive good maize harvests due to poor rains in their counties.

Constance Pande and Agnes Ndenderi said they have all the years depended on cotton to raise their families due to the good proceeds they get, vowing to increase crop acreage.

They appealed to the Kilifi County government to support them saying cotton farmers have been neglected in the region.

Their sentiments were echoed by their Meru counterparts who said they have been pushing for the County government of Meru to pass a motion and adopt cotton as their cash crop saying by doing so will encourage many farmers as the market was assured.

Betty Kinya a nominated Meru MCA and who led the Meru cotton farmers to tour the Thika factory said she has sponsored a motion on the same and hopes it will go through.

By Muoki Charles

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