COTTON farmers in North Rift have been urged to increase production following the acquisition of a larger machine by the Rift Valley Textile Industry (Rivatex) which is expected to boost capacity from the current 300 meters to 20,000 meters.
Speaking at Moi University in Eldoret, Vice chancellor Richard Mibei however expressed concern that importation of cotton from Comesa countries was bound to make Rivatex's products less competive in the market due high prices. Rivatex Managing director David Tuigong said the firm is spending a lot of money importing cotton when the country has the capacity to be self sustainable.
He said that farmers from Nyanza , Rift Valley and Western will benefit from Rivatex's extension programme once its rolled out. "Our country is endowed with good climate suitable for cotton growing why should we import the crop? " wondered Tuigong. He said they have purchased an additional 5,000 acres in Mwingi, 1,000 in Kerio Valley and 100 in Mogotio where they will also grown cotton under irrigation.
This move will ensure that there is constant supply of the crop with individual farmers supplying the rest of the commodity. "This will ensure that the factory does not face an acute shortage as has been happening in the past," he said. Tuigong said the upsurge of the mitumba industry has greatly affected the local textile industry as most people no longer buy new clothes.