Locally known as Pamba (Swahili). World wide there are about 33 million hectares of cotton crops. Until now, mostly brown, green and beige varieties had been cultivated.


Varieties Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense
Seed Rate 11-14 kg/ha
Fertilizer Rate 150 kgs/ha of Phosphorus; 200 kgs/ha of Nitrogen
Planting Spacing 20 cm between plants and 60-70 cm between rows with plant population of 50,000 and 60,000 plants per ha. Thinned later.
Husbandry In its early stages of growth, cotton requires an arid climate with a plentiful supply of water. The seeds should be sown at a depth of maximum 5 cm. Cotton is either planted on flat soil, ridges or in furrows. The seeds should be watered as soon as possible after sowing. Weed early and frequently. Place manure some 6 weeks after sowing. Cotton should not be grown for more than 3 years on the same field. It should be rotated.
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
Cotton Helopeltis Bright red or yellowish-red bugs seen on the tree Use insecticides
Anthracnose Seedling blight, boll rot and fibre staining Crop Rotation
Maturity Duration 4-6 months
Climatic Conditions Cotton performs best in desert climates, under irrigation. It grows on lowland below 1000 m. The optimum temperature for germination is 34°C and the average rainfall is usually 800-1200 mm. Its grown on a variety of soils from light sandy soils to heavy alluvium and calcareous clays with a pH 5.5 – 8.5. Cotton is salt-tolerant crops.
Harvesting Cotton is hand picked. It also produces clean seed cotton that can be ginned easily and cheaply in low-cost ginneries. Picking is very laborious. It should be done every 3-4 weeks, so that open cotton is not left in the field for too long which may result in a change of the colour and reduced the quality of the lint. Harvesting begins about 4 months after sowing, lasts for 2 months and 2-3 pickings are usually done.
Post Harvest and Storage Cotton is sorted into clean and stained cotton before marketing.
Growing Regions Nyanza, Eastern and Coastal regions.
Expected yields 1000 kg of cotton/ha (Lint 30%, Seed 65%) 


Processing Seeds are pressed for oil to make Soaps and lubricants. Seed Cakes and shells processed into animal feedLint cotton is ginned to make fabrics.


Place Marketed locally and also exported.
Price Kshs. 40 for seed cottonKshs 100 for Lint cotton


Products / By Products Lint cotton for Fibre, Seed Cake for fodder or manure, Edible Oil and Shells for fodder and fuel
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values Seeds are rich in proteins


80% of cotton in Kenya is imported.Gujarat, India is the top producer of cotton


Income Per Hectare: Kshs 56,000 (300*100/-+650*40/-)Cost per Hectare: Kshs. 16,000 (30% of Income).

NET:    Kshs. 40,000 (670% of Income).

Break Even Yield (Where Cost=Income): = 300 kgs per hectare.

Income Frequency: Twice per year. Thrice under irrigation.

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