Nakuru County government will distribute 5.3 million certified pyrethrum seedlings across the county this financial year, in a campaign aimed at reviving the once vibrant sector in the region.
County Chief Officer in charge of Agriculture Kibet Maina said the department has so far distributed 20 million seedlings to pyrethrum farmers across the county since the programme was initiated three years ago.
Kibet further said the seedlings distribution programme was seeking to increase pyrethrum acreage to over 10,000 acres across the county.
During the exercise, over 720,500 certified seedlings were distributed across Kuresoi Sub County where more than 113 farmers benefited.
He was happy that over 20 million pyrethrum seedlings have been distributed and planted in almost all the 11 sub-counties with more seedlings expected to be distributed and planted in the coming days.
Speaking in Kuresoi-South sub-County during the distribution exercise, Kibet challenged local farmers to embrace pyrethrum growing, adding that the venture would be beneficial to the farmers as well as the country’s economy.
Data from Agriculture Food Authority (AFA) reveals that national pyrethrum production dropped from 18,000 metric tons in the early 1990s to the current 500 metric tons.
Experts say Kenya has the potential to produce and process 20,000 metric tons of pyrethrum flowers to earn farmers Sh7.5 billion per year.
Pyrethrum is grown in Nakuru, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Laikipia, Meru, Embu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Kericho, Bomet, Narok, Nyamira and Kisii counties.
Most of the pyrethrum produced is meant for export with the local market consuming less than two per cent.
In Nakuru, the crop is also grown in Bahati, Subukia, Njoro, Kuresoi North and Naivasha sub-Counties.
According to Governor Lee Kinyanjui, the County has formed a pyrethrum caucus platform to deliberate on issues affecting the value chain.
The caucus is composed of all value chain actors, commercial nursery operators, regulators, processors and the County Assembly of Nakuru.
“We hold quarterly meetings with the stakeholders to get feedback, assess progress, address emerging issues and chart the way forward,” Governor Kinyanjui stated.
According to the County Integrated Development Programme (CIDP) for 2018—2022 the devolved unit targets to bring 2,000 acres under pyrethrum crop by early next year by promoting adoption of high yielding and superior quality germinating clones and varieties, adequate dissemination of information to farmers and increasing agricultural extension officers.
By Esther Mwangi and Mercy Syombua