Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.12(4), 24-30, April 2018
Cotton production was introduced in Kenya in 1900 by the British colonial settlers and the industry continued to record impressive performance up to the early 1980s. However, the sub-sector virtually collapsed by the early 1990s and recorded the lowest production performance by 1994 (CODA, 2012). Given the opportunities accorded through the United States of America (USA) “African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) of 18th May 2000” for the promotion of the cotton sub-sector, the Government of Kenya has been making some efforts to revive the cotton industry since the year 2000. The AGOA Act permits the entry of apparel products (mainly clothing/textile products) from eligible African countries into the USA duty free. This study assesses the factors that led to a virtual collapse of the cotton industry in Kenya by 1994 and also evaluates the feasibility of reviving the cotton industry in the country by assessing the drivers of cotton production performance in Tharaka Nithi and Kitui Counties of Kenya as a case study. The study uses multiple linear regression and the gross margin analysis. The regression results reveal that farmer experience in cotton farming, engagement in farmer groups or organizations, distance to ginnery and numbers of extension trainings had significant and positive relationships with the production performance of cotton in Kenya. The results further showed that the age of the household head, the years of formal education for the household head, credit access and land ownership had negative and significant relationships with the production performance of cotton in Kenya. The results of gross margin analysis showed that cotton production was not competitive when compared to production of the main crops grown in the study areas. Cotton was found to have the lowest gross margin and it would therefore not be rational for farmers to put much effort in its production.
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