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Rivatex boosts output with new Kisumu plant

By James Magayi
Tuesday, June 9th, 2020
Rivatex processing plant in Eldoret. The company will open a new plant in Kisumu. Photo/PD/jimmy Gitaka

James Magayi @magayijim

Eldoret-based apparel manufacturer Rivatex is strategically expanding its industrial plants to Kisumu County.

The move raises prospects of a swift economic upturn in the aftermath of current shutdowns occasioned by Covid-19 .

Rivatex has earmarked the expansive Nyando sub-county to host the processing plant.

The move is strategic, with the State having already broken ground for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the same locality after hiving off 2,000 acres from defunct Miwani Sugar Company.

Once fully operational, the SEZ and Rivatex plant  will transform the sleepy villages into a business hub while boosting the entire region’s overall economy.

The company hopes to tap Kisumu’s rich cotton production potential to increase volumes of apparel churned out to the market.

The Kisumu plant requires a workforce of 3,000 with beneficiaries being tailors, designers, technicians, machine operators and other necessary professionals while availing thousands of other opportunities to farmers, food producers, landlords and transport operators.

Reviving economy

“In realisation of the president’s four-point agenda on industrialisation and in collaboration with relevant ministries, Rivatex Company, together with the Department of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) has chosen to have a branch in Kisumu.

“This will revive the economy of this area and spur growth but most importantly it will revive cotton growing which thrived in the 80s and 90s.

The plant will have 3,000 employees stitching various garments as apparels are made in Eldoret,” said Rivatex factory manager Richard Tanui.

Rivatex’ expansion is seen as a calculated move to fully utilise the SEZ currently being set up in Kisumu by a multi-sectoral agency under the industrialisation ministry.

“The plant in Eldoret is not even producing at full capacity because of insufficient supply of raw materials.

That leaves very good room for farmers to grow cotton to supply the company,” he added.

Area Member of Parliament Jared Okelo lauded the move and urged residents to take advantage of the opportunities presented to maximise their potential. 

“This should be very exciting to all right thinking resident of Nyando as there is a real opportunity to make farms productive. 

“Tailors and designers and the technicians who will directly be employed should hurry as this is starting right away,” he said.

Raw materials

The company will start work in prefabricated sheds as they await approvals for construction of their permanent workshop. 

“Those trucks that will come to bring raw materials to be worked on here should not go back empty.

Plant cotton and ensure you maximise the use of your farms. The 3,000 people directly employed here will need rental houses to live in, so start building,” urged Okelo.

A number of SMEs from the Lake Basin region are equally angling for a swift take off once the economy is opened up as evidenced by hundreds of bank loan applications from the SME’s.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Kisumu branch chairman Israel Agina says the business community, which suffered great impacts of the covid-19 pandemic, is ready to reopen with vigor once the government eases the restrictions meant to contain the spread of the virus.

Agina said as part of the recovery plan, the agency intends to connect its members with financial institutions to enable them get loans. 

“Nobody wants to stay at home any longer. Our members are eager to get back to active business in order to try recover from coronavirus effects,” Agina told Business Hub yesterday.

The chamber of commerce official said that most businesses will require stimulus funding from government agencies and other development stakeholders to get back to their feet. 

He, however, expressed optimism that the trade industry would recover from the effects posed by the pandemic.

“The business community is hoping to rebuild from what they have lost due to the adverse effects of the virus,” he said.