Textile manufacturers from Kenya's cotton-growing regions are fiercely opposing the government's plan to import duty-free fabric. They warn that this move will cripple the domestic textile industry, devastate cotton farmers, and erase recent progress in reviving the sector.
Highlighting the negative impact of the move on farmers, governors like Glady Wanga and Paul Otuoma are emphasising on the importance of supporting farmers to ensure a steady supply of raw materials, especially with the modernisation of state-owned Rivatex nearing completion.
Governor Wanga says, the import plan for contradicting the government's own ‘bottom-up economic agenda’ that focuses on job creation and farmer empowerment. She urged the government to prioritise local production and support farmers through extension services for improved yields.
Echoing the concern about job losses, textile industry leaders like Tejal Dodhia and Thomas Kipkurgat are also urging the government to embrace the ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ spirit. They are emphasising on the capability of domestic producers to meet the country's needs and call for rejecting the import plan.