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Thika cloth maker appeals to State to boost cotton growing

Oliver Musembi @PeopleDailyKe

A local cloth manufacturer is appealing to the government to support the industry by purchasing their products in an effort to support more than 20,000 cotton farmers.

The management of one of the country’s biggest textile manufacturers, Thika Cloth Mills Limited (TCM) says the industry plays a huge role in promoting cotton farming, hence the need for State to help keep them afloat.

Speaking at the plant during a visit by French Development Agency (AFD-Sunref) officials, TCM’s processing manager Dickson Kinuthia said the company has contracted 22,000 cotton farmers in at least six counties.

AFD-Sunref has financed the installation of modern energy-saving production machinery worth Sh170 million at the factory. Only one other  factory uses cotton to produce garments locally is Sunflag Limited of Nairobi.

The French team led by Raphael De Guerre were taken round the facility by the company’s chief executive Tejal Dodhia.  De Guerre said Kenya has the potential of becoming a leading exporter of textile products and hence the decision by the French development agency to finance TCM’s machinery upgrade.

The textile firm opened 50 years ago but slowed down in the late 1980s and early 1990s due to importation of cheap second- hand clothes. “We believe if the State purchases more especially for uniforms for members of the disciplined forces, this will go a long way in sustaining the cotton farming and creating jobs,” Kinuthia said.

He said President Kenyatta issued a directive last year that government departments should buy from local manufacturers in line with his initiative to promote manufacturing, which is among his Big 4 Agenda.  “However, TCM has presented samples to various ministries but is yet to get the supply tenders,” he said.

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