The Ministry of Agriculture has finally allocated Sh200 million to bail out the debt-saddled Pyrethrum Board of Kenya.
Although the amount falls short of Sh350 million that the board required to redeem itself, farmers have to be contented with the latest development.
The once lucrative industry has performed dismally in the last 20 years due to poor management and lack of government goodwill.
The industry got a shot in the arm last month when President Kibaki directed the Agriculture ministry to urgently resolve all pending matters and ensure operations at PBK run normally.
“We need to urgently resolve all pending matters by getting the institutions that served farmers working again,” the President said while opening this year’s Agriculture Society of Kenya Nakuru show.
On Wednesday, the board, through its managing director, Mr Isaac Mulagoli, said it would use the money to pay for flower deliveries in order to shore up farmer’s output of the crop.
“We want to start paying for deliveries so that we can generate more money from processed flower extracts for export.
Bridge financial deficit
“We anticipate that would bridge the financial deficit of Sh350 million in the short-term that we previously asked the government,” Mr Mulagoli said in an interview with the Nation.
He thanked the President noting that the current national budgetary estimate did not factor in the PBK demands.
“We anticipated to spend Sh203 million in increasing flower production and retire Sh52 million farmer’s arrears dating 2008, Sh45 million in statutory remittances and payment of retrenched staff among other financial obligations,” he said.
He further noted that his board is not opposed to restructuring of the industry.