Lamu, KENYA: Cotton farmers in Lamu are seeking to be compensated for the poor harvests of the produce this year after they allegedly received poor quality seeds from the government.
The farmers who have complained of a total crop failure this year and are blaming the government for distributing unfit seeds.
Major cotton growing areas in Lamu are Hindi, Baharini, Uziwa, Tewe, Witu and Nairobi area in Lamu West.
Apart from cotton grown in the listed areas, Lamu is also an Agricultural hub and food basket.
In Lamu East,Faza is also a known cotton producer.
Speaking in Hindi town on Thursday, the farmers said they didn’t harvest anything this year after their entire cotton farms were raided by stubborn pests that left all the buds infested and destroyed.
Johnstone Kamau, a cotton farmer from Baharini area in Mpeketoni says farmers have spent huge loads of money trying to purchase all manner of insecticides but that nothing was saved.
Kamau said the government had promised them that this year’s seedlings were pest resistant which turned out to be the opposite.
“This year’s seeds were, in fact, more prone to pest attacks. We have spent fortunes but still weren’t able to salvage anything. Why would they give us poor quality seeds and make us lose so much?That’s why we are demanding that they compensate us. The input that goes into cotton farming isn’t a joke and losing all that can easily kill you. They should compensate us for the misinformation and lies they told about the seeds,”said Kamau.
Many of the farmers expressed their worry saying they weren’t sure how they would make through to the next planting season with all the losses made.
Peter Mwaura,a cotton farmer from Hindi town says “Cotton farming is our livelihood but this year we have been caught totally off guard.We have put in so much and come out with absolutely nothing.We don’t even know how to move on from here.
The farmers also want the county government to sponsor all costs for effective insecticides so as to boost cotton farming in the region.
They also want the county government to help them seek out reliable markets for their cotton produce adding that they have been forced to sell their produce at extremely low prices due to lack of proper markets.
For the past seasons, the farmers have been calling on the government to help them fight the red spider mite pest.
The pest starts by eating up the inner cotton flower buds which are in turn expected to turn into the real cotton for harvesting.