Rivatex benefits EAC cotton farmers on shortage in Kenya

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Rivatex benefits EAC cotton farmers on shortage in Kenya


Workers make clothes at Rivatex East Africa Limited in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu on September 09, 2021. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

The shortage of raw materials to run Rivatex has given producers in the East African Community (EAC) a major boon, with the Eldoret-based textile maker now relying on the region to supply the essentials of its fiber.

The company said it was still operating below capacity despite investing billions in its raises over the past two decades.

Inadequate raw materials and high labor and electricity costs are some of the factors slowing down the revival of the once-thriving textile company with more than 10,000 employees.

Business services director Patrick Nyaga said Rivatex was receiving 3,000 bales against a capacity of 20,000 per month.

“Like other textile companies in the country, the company is facing a severe shortage of cotton and has to import the raw material from East African Community member states,” Nyaga revealed during a tour of the company by government spokesman Cornel Oguna.

Kenya produces an average of 5,300 tonnes of fiber against a demand of around 38,000 tonnes per month, the shortfall being imported from neighboring countries.

Mr. Nyaga said the textile company would increase cotton consumption by 10,000 bales per day against a projected capacity of 100,000, which would translate into a daily production rate of 40,000 meters, compared to 5,000 previously. It takes more than 500,000 acres of cotton to achieve a steady supply of raw materials to support smooth operations.

“We don’t have enough Bt cotton seeds in the market, which means we recycle conventional seeds, which results in low productivity,” Nyaga said, adding that the company has entered into a partnership. with area counties to boost cotton supply. raw materials.

“Although we have invested in Bt cotton, production is insufficient to sustain our operations.”

He revealed that the area under Bt production fell from 33,193 acres to 149,000 acres, but production remained at 10,000 bales per year, which is too low to support the operations of textile companies in the country.

“Production is like a drop in the ocean as demand exceeds supply from many textile companies in the country,” Nyaga added.

The county produces an average of 5,300 tons of cotton against a demand of about 38,000 tons, with a shortfall of about 17 billion shillings imported from neighboring countries.

The Treasury recently injected 650 million shillings into the upgrade of the new Rivatex.

“The government is committed to accelerating the modernization of Rivatex, expanding job creation and preparing the cotton market,” Oguna said.

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Richard V. Johnson