Cotton sector bemoans mitumba trade

December 9, 2013
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, COTTON-FARMERSNAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – The cotton sector has said that cheap imports of textile and second hand clothes are inhibiting growth of the industry.

The Cotton Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Anthony Muriithi said there needs to be set appropriate tax levels that will enhance competition.

Muriithi said the Authority will be lobbying the government to strengthen surveillance for compliance to standards and taxes.

“We do not condemn second hand clothes, all we want is to see a level playing field for both the local players and the imports,” he said.

He says the Authority will lobby the government so that all procurement is made from locally made products.

He also said that the Authority will introduce incentives for buy Kenya build Kenya brand in order to promote local consumption.

“We need government institutions to buy from the local market, so as the sector can thrive, we will also ask the Kenyan market to buy from Kenya so as we can have more market locally,” he said.

He said the industry is also suffering from inadequate skilled manpower and high cost of manufacturing particularly from high power and labor costs.

“We are also asking the Kenya Power Company to revise tariffs on power for the sector,” he said.

The sector also has poor farm yields from low adoption of technology and lack of certified seeds.

However, the sector has come a long way, with price improvement from Sh20 in 2005 to Sh42 in 2013 as well as a new system to measure physical attributes of cotton in place.

“To address concerns on quality and consistency of demanded local lint by buyers and processors, classification services have been rolled out from this season that include procedures developed for measuring physical attributes for cotton that affect quality of the finish products and manufacturing efficiency,” he explained.

He said that all bales will now be tested and quality attributes markings will accompany bales offered for sale.

The sector has a potential of producing 140, 000 bales a year and is only producing 35,000 bales annually.

Introduced in 1902 cotton is among the first cash crops in Kenya.
In mid 1980’s cotton was leading manufacturing activity in terms of size and employment.

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