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 have partnered to help farmers grow the crop.
Homa Bay women representative 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.
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. They’re going to buy all cotton produced by these farmers. That is why they are supporting them free of charge.
The Homa Bay women representative Wanga said she is liaising with development partners to establish a ginnery in Homa Bay to boost production. She expressed optimism that cotton will boost the county’s economy. She also said Cotton enabled many farmers to pay school fees without difficulties. This is a reliable economic activity that can transform lives of many people. 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.