Eastern African countries including, Kenya and Tanzania, are focusing on cotton sector for the economic revival of the region and they have introduced several policies and incentives to improve cotton production in the region.
Speaking to fibre2fashion, CEO of Cotton Development Authority (CODA) of Kenya, Mr. Anthony Mureithi said, “The cotton sector of Kenya is estimated to have a potential to benefit 10 million people due to the many forward and backward linkages favorable for jobs creation.”
“Under the Kenyan Government’s policy in Vision 2030 for addressing poverty, cotton production has been identified as a key sector for economic development of the drier areas in the country,” he adds.
The Government of Kenya has put in place a number of investments, policy incentives and interventions in the cotton sector in the last three years which includes zero rating value added tax (VAT) on locally produced and ginned cotton.
According to Mr. Mwangulumba Emmanuel, principal cotton development and promotion officer at Tanzania Cotton Board, cotton is one of the major traditional crops in the country as it is the lifeline of about 46 million Tanzanians.
“As part of increasing cotton production in the country, Tanzania Cotton Board is promoting contract farming in collaboration with Tanzania Gatsby Trust, the financiers of the Cotton and Textile Development Program,” he informs.
The main reason for promoting contract farming in Kenya is that it will increase seed cotton productivity from the current national average of 300 kg/acre to about 1000kg/ acre and above.
Mr. Emmanuel says, “Some of the factors for adopting contract farming are improved seeds, timely inputs provision to farmers and improved agricultural extension services; improved cotton quality by reducing contaminations; creating a more reliable arrangements for cotton marketing at cotton growers level as well as organize the fragmented and scattered small scale farmers into creditworthy groups and connect these groups to financial institutions.”
Mr. Mureithi also stressed on the importance of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in boosting the cotton and textile sector of the region, as it provides duty-free entry of finished goods, mainly textiles and apparels, to the US.
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