Pyrethrum farmers in the North Rift region have appealed to the government to allow them pick their own directors to represent them at the Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK).
The farmers, while lauding Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya for appointment of Stella Wanjiru, Lawrence Munene Ngari, Bowen Chebwai, Nasra Kochale and Janaro Guantai Ithinji to the PPCK board, however noted that farmers themselves should also be allowed a stake in the entire process.
The Former Pyrethrum North Rift Director Stephen Yakan urged the government to give farmers leeway in choosing directors as it used to be initially.
Speaking to the media in Kapenguria on Tuesday, Yakan pointed out that without the sector having farmers’ representation, it creates a major gap with no representatives on the ground.
“Since we were removed in 2011, there has been no directors representing farmers. We need to participate in the election of directors. Initially farmers were choosing their own directors but things have now changed, leaving farmers to suffer the resultant consequences,” lamented the former Director.
He claimed that West Pokot County was producing high quality and quantity pyrethrum in the world. “Currently, we are supplying six tones in a month,” he added.
However, Yakan urged farmers in the region to plant more pyrethrum, adding that the prices are good since they were raised to Sh435 a kilogram.
He also called on the County Government to consider increasing supply of seedling to farmers to curb challenges of shortage of the same. “We urge the County Government to support the pyrethrum board because agriculture is devolved,” he reiterated.
Yakan also raised concern over the mode of drying pyrethrum which he said was challenging “Using firewood is a primitive way. The government should give us new technology of using driers to preserve the quality,” he said, while appealing to the pyrethrum board to also make prompt payments to motivate farmers.
“In the good old days, the board used to pay timely, on monthly basis so that we could pay school fees and buy food,” he recalled.
By Richard Muhambe