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Ray of hope for Kenya’s cotton sector

Chinese companies plan to set up textile factories in the country to boost cotton production and enhance value addition. The strategy also involves helping the country increase textile exports.

Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce (KCCC) Chairman Zhuo Wu confirmed that discussions are underway between the companies and the national government on the programme.

The discussions, Zhuo said, will be followed by an elaborate business plan to boost cotton production and technology transfer. “We are in negotiations with the government on the establishment of factories in the local market. Our intention is to have enough products for the export market,” he said.

He added: “In addition to the negotiations, we are familiarising ourselves with the cotton-apparel value chain and building partnerships with other actors such as learning institutions.”

Zhuo made the remarks during a Maritime Silk Road forum in Eldoret. The event was organised by KCCC, Moi University and Fibre Crops Directorate of Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).

Trade analysts say a number of Chinese firms have developed appetite to invest in the textile sector owing to revival efforts the government has made over the last decade.

Zhuo said textile industry in Kenya has recorded remarkable progress in the last decade owing to Government and other value chain players’ commitment to enforce new reforms.

The business plan to be developed , he said, will have components such as leasing of land locally to boost output for the established factories.

“Once we gain access to the local market we will also facilitate cotton farmers from China to come and share their experiences with local farmers,” he added.

Head of Fibre Crops Directorate Anthony Mureithi said the country has seven privately owned operating factories with a capacity utilisation of between 17 per cent and 31 per cent with 80 per cent of raw materials used in the facilities sourced from the external markets.

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