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Kenya to invest US$4.6 million in pyrethrum farming

Kenya will pledge approximately US$4.6mn to revive the pyrethrum sector in Nakuru County and the rest of the country, county assembly agriculture committee member Njuguna Gichamu has announced

Gichamu said the funds, which will be released by the national and county government, will boost pyrethrum production across the country.

“We want to spearhead the restoration of the Kenyan pyrethrum industry which will boost pyrethrum farmers’ livelihoods and earn foreign exchange for the country,” he said.

Gichamu added that the county government has also earmarked approximately US$920,000 to subsidise agricultural activities.

“The committee has petitioned the county government to ensure US$115,000 pyrethrum seedlings are availed to farmers,” he said.

According to Kenyan newspaper The Star, the sector is calling on private investors to support the industry, with companies such as HighChem East Africa hoping to acquire a licence to start operating there in 2014.

Wilson Mwangi, a representative of HighChem East Africa, said the company will collaborate with the county government and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute to make seedlings readily available to farmers.
“We want farmers to return to farming the crop which has lost its glory over the years,” he said.

Mwangi added farmers will be paid according to the pyrethrum content in their crop, with minimum content selling for around US$0.46 per kilogram and the highest selling for US$2.75 per kilogram.

“We have a capacity to process a minimum of six tonnes and a maximum of 24 tonnes of the crop. We will pay farmers within two weeks after they deliver the product,” Mwangi said.

Nakuru County Pyrethrum Farmers’ Network chairman John Njoroge said the major problem facing farmers is lack of quality seedlings.

The sector will be opened up in January 2014, when the Pyrethrum Bill comes into effect and those intending to process the crops will be required to apply to the Pyrethrum Regulatory Authority.

Njoroge said the revival will see an improvement of pyrethrum farmers’ incomes and livelihoods, consequently earning more foreign exchange for Kenya.