The National Government has set aside Sh. 30 million towards the revival of Muluanda Cotton Ginnery in Busia.
Speaking after an inspection tour of the facility on Wednesday, the Cooperatives Principal Secretary (PS), Ali Noor said that the renovation work is scheduled to be complete by the end of May this year.
“After looking at the amount of work required, I am convinced that the money allocated by the government is enough,” he said.
The PS added that his office will work closely with that of the Principal Secretary, Public Works to ensure that the funds are well utilized so that farmers fully benefit from the facility.
Noor further said that farmers will be issued with BT cotton seeds which are not only disease and pest resistant but also high yields.
“We will also work closely with the County Government to ensure that cooperative societies are strengthened,” he said.
The PS pointed out that the facility was one of the towering giants in the 60s but was affected by Structural Adjustment Programme.
The Funyula Member of Parliament, Oundo Mudenyo said the journey towards the revival of the facility has been long but bore fruit.
Mudenyo pointed out that the ginnery supported many households in the past, adding that the Constituency was very active in terms of business in the past.
“We had around seven stores for cotton collection here in Samia but they all collapsed,” he said, adding that the ginnery stopped working in 1995, almost 25 years ago.
He further said that all efforts to revive cotton growing in the area has been fruitless hence the need to revive the ginnery.
The MP assured the local residents that there is a ready market at Rivatex in Eldoret.
Mudenyo expressed concern that the local cooperative societies were weak and had not been able to mobilize farmers to plant cotton.
“Some of them have between two to five members hence the blame to cooperative officers for failing to sensitize farmers,” he said, adding that there is need to strengthen the primary cooperative societies.
The MP explained that any government subsidies to farmers can only be done through cooperative societies.
He urged the local residents to participate fully in the implementation of the project, adding that if farmers do not meet the amount of cotton required for operating the facility, it will merely be a ‘white elephant’.
“If we do not plant cotton, we are likely to close down the facility after a few months,” he noted, adding the County Government should invest heavily on cotton sensitization and farming.
He stated that only children from cotton farmers from the area will be employed at the facility.
Mudenyo urged the government to avail the BT cotton seed to farmers so that they can begin planting it from July this year.
“This is because the traditional seeds we have been planting yields 580 kg per acre but BT cotton yields 2100 kg per acre,” he said, adding that there is profit in cotton.
He at the same time, urged the County Government to allocate funds in its budget for purchase of cotton from farmers.
Mudenyo urged those entrusted with the revival of the facility to fast track the process and ensure that it is complete by end of May.
“We must put in modern machines that will ensure efficient production process,” he said, assuring the locals that all the funds allocated for the project will be accounted for.
The MP stated that the tendering process and managerial aspects of the project will be done at the Ministerial level before handing it over to Muluanda Management Committee.
Farmers who attended the forum hailed the government for the initiative, adding that it will provide employment opportunities to the locals and improve their livelihoods.
By Salome Alwanda