Rivatex plans expansion to Kisumu

Workers at a Rivatex plant in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The Rivatex plant will be in Boya, Nyando Sub-County, which was known for cotton farming when the crop was considered rare gold in the wider Nyanza Province.
  • The garment factory gets its raw materials from 24 cotton-growing counties, most of them in the Lake Region Economic Bloc.

Rift Valley Textile Ltd (Rivatex), one of the major garment makers in Kenya, will open a branch in Kisumu County, an expansion step that is expected to complicate the plot for planners working to revive Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi).

The Rivatex plant will be in Boya, Nyando Sub-County, which was known for cotton farming when the crop was considered rare gold in the wider Nyanza Province.

Rivatex says it wants to employ at least 3,000 people and hasten the revival of cotton farming after decades of decline.

It is expected that the expansion will help the milling giant expand its capacity to bridge the deficit in production at a time there has been a growing demand for its products.

Factory manager Richard Tanui, plant engineer Caroline Mureithi and Charles Kipkemoi were accompanied by Nyando MP Jared Okello on a tour of the 2.5-acre site of the proposed factory.

Mr Tanui said the factory will set up prefabricated buildings in a few weeks to kick-start the project.

“We will be sending 3,000 sewing machines to the new site in the next few weeks, plus initial staff, but with time we will be recruiting local residents,” he said.

Rivatex has landed government tenders for uniforms and the Kisumu branch will specialise in garment tailoring and stitching.

The garment factory gets its raw materials from 24 cotton-growing counties, most of them in the Lake Region Economic Bloc.

“We get our raw materials from Meru, Makueni and due to little production we have to go up to Uganda and Tanzania,” Mr Tanui said.

“This is what we want to change by empowering farmers and telling them that here we are, the market is here, give us raw materials.”

The project is in collaboration with the department of small and medium enterprises, under the Ministry of Industrialisation, the MP said.

Plans to revive Kicomi were on course, he said, “but that does not mean we waste opportunities like this, which will be complementing Kicomi in production.”