File | Nation Media Group

Cotton, Kenya’s ‘white gold’ that has been left in tatters

What you need to know:

  • So forgotten is the cotton industry that when you look at the country’s cotton belt, you see unbridled poverty, age-old failure to streamline policy in the sector, and iron-fisted cartels, which have even sold farmers’ ginneries.
  • Actually, in 2018 there was a global cotton deficit of 1.5 million tonnes from the largest exporting countries led by China, US and India.
  • When the first textile mill was opened in Kisumu in 1965, the idea was to support the regional farmers with a cash crop with high demand.

Once upon a time, cotton was a vital source of foreign exchange. It was known as white gold. But on Friday, when a few governors and senators met ostensibly to oppose reforms in various agriculture sectors, they did not even mention cotton.  Not that they support reforms in cotton industry.  They did not have a view, or position, on it.

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