Rivatex East Africa Ltd is planning to undergo a US $59m upgrade. The initiative, which is set to reach completion by the end of the month, will see an increase in cotton consumption from 10,000 to 40,000 bales per day. This, according to media reports, is against a projected capacity of 100,000.
The company’s Managing Director Thomas Kipkurgat said the firm was targeting the Agoa market through the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) as well as in East Africa and other parts of the continent.
Over the years, the firm has won contracts to produce materials used to make new police uniforms. It has also been contracted by other government agencies such as Kenya Power, the Geothermal Development Company, various hospitals as well as gowns for public and private universities.
Rivatex secured a US $29m loan from the Indian government last year and the additional US $29m from the Treasury to replace its obsolete machines. Prof Kipkurgat said the firm is targeting 40,000 cotton growers and more than 22 cotton-growing counties.
Earlier on this year, Rivatex announced it will purchase the seed cotton at between US $0.47 (Sh47) and US $0.49 (Sh50) per kilogram. Prof Kipkurgat also mentioned that they are currently sensitizing farmers to take advantage of the upgrade to provide Rivatex with the raw materials. This, he further noted, will result in job opportunities for more than 40,000 farmers directly.
The firm has since reached contractual agreements with farmers and ginneries to shore up production. Rivatex has been using free cottonseeds and pesticides to entice cotton farmers who abandoned the crop when the textiles industry collapsed.
According to data sourced from the Fibre Crop Directorate, there are approximately 20,717 hectares under cotton, with a kilogram of the produce currently fetching Ksh46.