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Kenya reduces cotton imports

Kenya plans to revive the cotton industry. Among the steps chalked out is eliminating imports of cotton raw materials within the next five years. The country used to produce over 30,000 tons of cotton in the 1980s but production has declined to 7,500 tons currently. Rising cost of production has made the cash crop unprofitable. The hope is to increase cotton production to 10,000 tons by the end of 2020, through increasing the area under cultivation. Kenya is keen to use locally produced cotton to supply textile factories that export most of their products to foreign markets.

The cooperative model will be leveraged to revive the cotton industry and create additional jobs. A pilot project has been launched, where farmers have formed a cooperative. This will be replicated to 22 counties across the country. Farmers will be provided with certified seeds to ensure they achieve optimum yields. As of now Kenya is losing value addition opportunities due to over-reliance on imports of intermediate cotton products that are converted into finished textile products.

Kenya will be taking steps to expand exports and raise the country’s share of new investments. The country will particularly be focusing on trade windows such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the European Economic Partnership Agreement which have not been fully exploited.