Revitalizing Cotton Production in Siaya County

The Siaya County Government has restated its dedication to revitalizing cotton production in the region and expanding its value chain capacity, coinciding with the national government’s commitment to facilitating farmers’ access to seeds and ensuring a competitive market with favorable prices.

Siaya County Governor, Honorable James Orengo, emphasized the considerable potential of cotton production, citing an ideal yield of 2500 kilograms per hectare, in contrast to the current 300 kilograms. The governor posited that this initiative will notably bolster industrialization efforts within the county.

Governor Orengo remarked, “Many farmers in Siaya County have previously engaged in cotton cultivation and are thus familiar with the enterprise. Therefore, it is an opportune moment to modernize and revitalize our cotton value chain to attain optimal production levels.”

Historically, cotton constituted a primary source of income for Siaya County residents from the 1960s to the early 1980s, until the sub-sector experienced a collapse.

These sentiments were conveyed during a gathering at the Siaya Technical Institute, where the County convened a Cotton, Textile & Apparels Value Chain Stakeholders’ Engagement Forum, aligning with broader strategies to invigorate activities in the multi-billion-shilling industry, thereby enhancing the County’s economy and the livelihoods of industry stakeholders.

cotton production
Siaya County Cotton, textiles and Apparels engagement forum.jpeg source Siaya County

The Governor affirmed his administration’s commitment to establishing a Climate Resilient Stronger Cotton Value Chain, with a focus on capacity-building among stakeholders. The county provides tailored extension services, offering training on Technologies, Innovations, and Management Practices (TIMPs) in cotton cultivation.

In the commercial value chains segment, 6,000 kilograms of cotton seed were distributed in the previous financial year. For the current fiscal year (2023-2024), a total of 18,625 kilograms of cotton seed are earmarked for distribution.

Governor Orengo highlighted the importance of irrigation in enhancing cotton yields, expressing the county’s support for such endeavors. A collaborative effort with the National Government is underway to support Farmer-Led Irrigation Development, including the revival and rehabilitation of the Ugambe irrigation scheme under the Bondo Irrigation Cluster.

To facilitate access to finance, the county government is finalizing the establishment of a Cooperatives Development Fund, aiming to provide financial support to societies for value-addition initiatives.

Dr. Juma Mukhwana, Principal Secretary of the State Department for Industrialization, reiterated the government’s commitment to revitalizing cotton farming, emphasizing support for farmers through the provision of seeds, fertilizers, cooperatives, and ginneries.

Dr. Mukhwana stated, “We have allocated funds for the purchase of cotton from farmers to ensure a guaranteed market. With collaborative efforts, we have successfully procured seeds, addressing a historical challenge.”

Furthermore, Dr. Mukhwana highlighted ongoing modernization efforts at the Madiany Ginnery, with investments totaling KES 17 million, and an additional KES 30 million earmarked for the next fiscal year. He mentioned the government’s quest to attract investors for the establishment of a ginnery in Siaya, aiming to enhance value addition in the cotton industry.

Elizabeth Adongo, Chief Officer for Agriculture, Food Security, Livestock, and Blue Economy in Siaya County, affirmed the county’s commitment to supporting agriculture, underscoring its pivotal role in the local economy. She emphasized plans to provide extension services and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure the effective processing and commercialization of cotton products.

On the cooperative front, Honorable Patrick Kiburi Kilemi, Principal Secretary of the State Department for Cooperatives, acknowledged historical doubts surrounding cooperatives in Siaya County and advocated for collaboration with the Council of Governors to enact new cooperative legislation, aiming to foster farmer confidence.

Kilemi urged increased youth participation in agriculture, particularly in lucrative value chains like cotton, emphasizing the profitability potential in cotton farming

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