Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has hailed the national government renewed efforts to revive the cotton industry in the coastal county saying his administration will fully support it.
Mvurya thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for choosing Kwale among five counties with immense potential in cotton production where ginneries will be built in a programme to revive the sector countrywide.
In Kwale the Sh.70 million ginnery will be built at Kinondo area Msambweni sub county where Mvurya announced that land has already been set aside.
“We have been struggling with a major economic slowdown because of the effects of covid-19 pandemic which have devastated the tourism sector that is our economic mainstay” said Mvurya.
He said the county is set to have the first cotton ginnery after the national Government and Kwale based Australian mining firm Base Titanium agreed to construct the ginnery at the PAVI Business Park in Kinondo.
Mvurya said this during a press briefing at the county headquarters in Kwale town on Friday while receiving a delegation from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives led by the Cooperative Development Permanent Secretary (PS) Noor Ismail.
The PS who underlined the need to support the country’s cotton producers was accompanied by the acting Commissioner for Cooperatives Geoffrey Njang’ombe.
The PS said the country had launched a major cotton industry revival program and will involve all farmers at the grassroots level.
“The purpose is to change the textile chain and increase manufacturing from 9% to 15% and more under the Pamba na Viazi (PAVI) “cotton radicalization” programme. Rivatex will buy all cotton from farmers so the market is there. We want to increase cotton production from 29,000 to 65,000 bales annually,” he said.
Ismail said the construction of the ginnery is part of the national government’s Big Four Agenda to increase the percentage of the manufacturing sector on the GDP from 9 percent to 15 percent as it aims to revive the cotton industry.
Ismail said the government is fully committed to reviving the manufacturing industry and would also support the cotton farming and textile industry in all parts of its value chain and create jobs.
PAVI Cooperative, supported by Base, has been instrumental in the revival of the cotton sector in Kwale by supporting local farmers to plant cotton on their farms.
The programme which began with 100 farmers in 2015 has since grown to include 2,500 farmers cultivating 1,500 acres of cotton on their farms. Base hopes to expand the Kwale Cotton Programme to 10,000 farmers in the coming years.
Base Titanium community relations manager Pius Kassim said the mining firm is ready to help the ambitious goals for agricultural modernization especially the revival of the cotton sector.
By Hussein Abdullahi