The National Government is committed to revive the pyrethrum sector in partnership with county governments. Speaking in Eburru, Gilgil Constituency Nakuru County last week, Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri said the government has identified the shortage of clean planting materials as the biggest impediment the farmers are facing. “Getting clean planting materials has been expensive to farmers but we are going to step in and see how we can help together with County Governments as agriculture is devolved,” said Kiunjuri. Kiunjuri who was accompanied by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, Gilgil Member of Parliament Martha Wangari and PS Agriculture Research Hamadi Boga, lauded the Governor for his efforts to revive pyrethrum farming in the County.
The CS said he was impressed by farmers in the area who have taken up pyrethrum farming and urged them to increase the acreage under the crop as the government was determined to find the market for them. “We are determined to revive the pyrethrum industry in Kenya and there is no going back. We want to capture our share of the International market and we will be looking for a market in America, China, Britain, and other countries. Together with Governor Lee Kinyanjui, we want to triple the land under pyrethrum from the current 6,000 hectares to almost 18,000 hectares by the end of next year,” said the Cabinet Secretary. The CS announced that the Ministry will support the Nakuru County Government to propagate clean planting materials to the tune of Kshs. 45 million.
On his part, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said his government has so far used Kshs. 70 million to revive pyrethrum farming. He said farmers had shown a lot of interest in pyrethrum farming and they were giving positive feedback which he said was a good testimony that the industry had a bright future ahead. “Farmers are able to educate their children from their half and one-acre pyrethrum farms which is very encouraging. This is helping in attaining food security also as farmers have money to buy the food, they require to feed their families,” said Kinyanjui. The Governor said they were working with various processors in the county, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) and other agencies to chart the way forward and ensure the industry is vibrant gain. The county has committed Kshs. 35 million this year for planting material propagation.
The once-lucrative pyrethrum industry was a foreign currency earner but collapsed years back from an annual turnover of 18,000 tonnes to about 500 tonnes. Unlike years back when the defunct Pyrethrum Board of Kenya had a monopoly in the sector, various processors have joined the industry since liberalization and are working with farmers directly.