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Four years down the line, empty promises fill revival of industries

Four years down the line, nothing tangible can be seen. Politicians are already on the campaign trail with even more promises. PHOTO:COURTESY

At the onset of devolution, residents of western Kenya were optimistic that industries that had collapsed would roar back to life.

Governors and legislators had during campaigns promised to empower locals through revival of collapsed industries, most of which were synonymous with the region.

Four years down the line, nothing tangible can be seen. Politicians are already on the campaign trail with even more promises.

While millions of shillings have been pumped into revival of these factories, some are still in a sorrowful state.

However, mismanagement and importation of cheap textile products sounded a death knell for cotton farmers in the early 1990s. Mulwanda, alongside other textile factories such as Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi), and Rift Valley Textiles (Rivatex) were forced to close shop as a result of the influx of cheap imports flooding the market.

Ray of hope

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There was a ray of hope when Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong and area legislators undertook to oversee revival of cotton farming in the area and Mulwanda Cotton Ginnery alongside other smaller ginneries in Nambale, Amukura and Malakisi.

Over Sh10 million was earmarked in the 2015/2016 Budget for rehabilitation of Mulwanda factory. This was never to be, barely a few months to the August 8 polls. County Agriculture executive Moses Osiya however indicated plans to revive the ginnery were at an advanced stage.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali promised to push for the bailout of Mumias Sugar Company. The Government has since injected about Sh2.6 billion into the firm, though the move appears too little too late, according to the Kenya National Sugarcane Farmers’ Federation Secretary General Simon Wesechere.

The county has pledged to give farmers financial support in a bid to revive sugarcane farming. It seeks to have the allocation to agriculture increased from Sh2.2 billion in the financial year 2016/17 to Sh2.4 billion in 2017/18.

In Bungoma County, some of the projects that had been earmarked for revival included Panpaper Mills in Webuye, Kitinda Dairy Farmers Co-operatives Society and Chwele market – the second largest open air market in Kenya after Karatina in Nyeri.

Governor Kenneth Lusaka had indicated his administration would revive the stalled Panpaper Mills, Kitinda Dairy Industry that stopped operations in 1995.  

 

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