Pyrethrum farmers in Nyandarua County have embarked on the revival of the cash crop, as the government urges them to double their efforts to meet the growing demand for pyrethrin.
The revival of the sector that has about 400 farmers already farming the flowers, has been attributed to the policy on upfront payment on delivery and bonuses as per the pyrethrin contents, introduced last year.
James Mbiro, a farmer from Munyeki Sub location in Ol Kalou, noted that the advance payment of Sh200 per kilogram they get from the Pyrethrum on delivery, enables them to cater for their overhead expenses.
“Initially, we would not get any cash before our produce was dried and the pyrethrin content determined, but today we are grateful that we can get an advance of Sh200 on delivery, while awaiting for a bonus of about Sh90 that is deposited into our bank accounts once the pyrethrin content is confirmed.
“Once we plant our seedlings, they only take a period of three months to mature. This marks the beginning of harvesting for a period of 4 years, in intervals of between one and two weeks depending on maturity of the flowers,” said Mbiro.
Speaking in her Nyahururu office, Pyrethrum Board of Kenya Field Officer, Ms Rachael Mwitwa, said that they have been supplying farmers with seedlings and seeds through self-help groups and co-operatives.
“In order to motivate more farmers to engage in pyrethrum farming, as a pyrethrum processing company, we issue them with free seeds and seedlings during the long rains which favours the growth.
“We pay our farmers depending on the percentage of the pyrethrin content in farmers produce. For instance, for a 2% of pyrethrin content in farmers’ produce, we pay Sh290 per Kg,” said Mwitwa.
She added that they recommend different varieties of pyrethrum for different altitudes. For instance, the P4 pyrethrum does well in high altitudes above 2200m, while K218 and K235 pyrethrum do well in all pyrethrum growing areas.
Another farmer, Josphat Njenga, further applauded the government for supporting pyrethrum growers through construction of water dams that ensure sustainability of the crops, upgrading of vocational training centres that educate them on the pyrethrum varieties and how to maintain them as well as supporting them through the provision of drying fields for their flowers among other initiatives.
“We cannot compare the previous conditions of farming and what we have now. At least we have enough knowledge on pyrethrum farming and are also trying to double efforts in order to meet the rising demand in the market,” said Njenga.
Deputy Governor, Ms Cecilia Mbuthia, had in September last year announced that they will be in the frontline to ensure that farmers have a consistent market for their produce.
“Through memoranda of understanding with cooperative societies, Industrial Promotion Services IPS will provide seedlings, fertilizers and a consistent market to absorb over 100 metric tonnes of dried pyrethrum.
“Time has come to deliver on this promise. Our journey of hope continues and more milestones will be achieved,” said Mbuthia.
By Teresia Mutuku and Judy Nderitu