3,000 cotton farmers in Homa Bay get free pesticides - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 3 October 2020

3,000 cotton farmers in Homa Bay get free pesticides


Cotton farming is undergoing revival in Homa Bay as leaders intensify efforts to bring more sector players on board.

The economic activity boomed in the region from 1962 to 1990s. Its collapse led to significant job losses and condemned many residents to poverty. Residents  vividly recall past glories and believe its resuscitation is a move in the right direction.

Bringing the sector to life is crucial in boosting the region's economy and improving household incomes, as well as living standards. 

Textile manufacturer, Rivatex, Crop-tech and the office of Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga have partnered to help farmers grow the crop.

On Friday, Wanga and Rivatex general manager Patrick Nyaga presided over distribution of free 26,000 litres of pesticides to 3,000 farmers. In April, the farmers received free seeds.

Nyaga said farmers will now be able to fight pests such as bollworms. He assured the farmers that they will buy all their produce. They converged at Pala market in Karachuonyo.

He said Rivatex currently depends on cotton from Tanzania and a small supply from Kenya, hence the need for local farmers to grow the crop to reduce dependence on the neighbouring country.

“We’re going to buy all cotton produced by these farmers. That is why we are supporting them free of charge,” Nyaga said.

Wanga said she is liaising with development partners to establish a ginnery in Homa Bay to boost production.

“Establishing a cotton ginnery in Homa Bay will encourage many farmers to resume cotton production,” she said.

She expressed optimism that cotton will boost the county's economy. “Cotton enabled many farmers to pay school fees without difficulties. This is a reliable economic activity that can transform lives of many people,” Wanga said.

She urged residents to be part of the revival. “Rivatex has assured us of market. Let us now grow cotton.”

Growers said production declined seriously due to collapse of cotton ginneries in the county in early 1990s. Homa Bay Cotton Farmers Cooperative Union chairman John Akoko said establishment of a ginnery will enable them to sell their harvests conveniently.

“Many people are ready to grow cotton but the only problem is lack of a ginnery. We appeal for creation of one,” Akoko said.

He said reduced fish catch in Lake Victoria had left many people jobless and farming is their only hope. “Lake Victoria is being depleted. The only alternative source of income is cotton production,” Akoko said.

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