Cotton production in Kenya this year is expected to triple over last year’s figures, marking one of the highest yields in the last decade, according to the Fibre Crops Directorate, which foresees production to rise from 10,672 tonnes realised last year to 30,000 tonnes. Increased production is being attributed to better investment and incentives to farmers. The high cotton harvest is the result of investment on farmers to spur production in line with the government’s Big Four agenda, said Naomi Kamau, head of the directorate. However, production will be slightly less than the projection because of harsh weather, she said.

The projection of 39,000 bales of lint this year has been revised down to 30,000 because of drought, primarily in the eastern region, a Nairobi-based English-language business newspaper quoted Kamau as saying. The directorate has also created a ready market for farmers by having them sign contracts with ginneries, which ensures the crop is purchased immediately after being harvested. Cotton production has been falling in the country since the 1980s with Kenya relying on imports to bridge the deficit. The country imports over half of the required quantity of cotton to keep its factories running. There are about four active ginneries in the country now in Meru, Baringo, Makueni and Kitui.

Apparel export to US from major exporting nations:









India witnessed a double-digit growth in apparel export to the US and can grow further with more focus on blended and value-added products, the Indian Texpreneurs Federation (ITF) recently said. Apparel exports to the US were worth $1.764 billion in January-May last year and saw a 10.83 per cent growth to reach $1,955 billion in the same period this year, it said. In a tweet marked to textiles minister Smriti Irani, ITF said an eco-system needs to be created to nurture manufacturing of high value-added apparel as 43 per cent of the top 30 export items in this sector are fetching a revenue of below $6 per piece.

Few Indian players are demonstrating their capability in value-added product exports by earning more than $9 per apparel. An alternative is to motivate small and medium enterprises to set up large scale units to compete in low-value apparel, it said.  Exporting clusters like the one in Tiruppur should focus more on the US market to grow further, it said. A few ITF member companies are trying to brand their products as sustainable fashion items to command better preference in global markets, ITF said. Whatever space China is vacating in the home textile space will be shared by several countries, but India continues to maintain the second-largest supplier status in this sub-sector, according to ITF.