More than 6,000 pyrethrum farmers in Nakuru County have a reason to smile after the assembly approved Sh29 million allocation in the supplementary budget for buying planting materials.
The additional funding, which is contained in the Sh435 million supplementary budget, comes at a time when farmers who are still planting the cash crop are desperately looking for clean planting materials.
County Assembly Speaker Joel Maina Kairo said he will spearhead a campaign to ensure the once lucrative sub-sector is allocated enough funds in the financial year 2018/2019.
“Pyrethrum was the pride of Nakuru County and as an assembly leader, I am keen to push the agenda of more funding as it is capable of transforming the lives of nearly five million Kenyans in the 18 pyrethrum growing counties,” said Kairo.
Kairo, who was touring the Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK), accompanied by the Leader of Majority Stanley Karanja and the vice-chairman of Agriculture Committee Wilson Mwangi Wachira urged the government to double the Sh200million allocation in a bid to boost its revival process.
He said the crop once described as ‘black gold’ could be a game-changer in the region by helping fight poverty and increase job opportunities to thousands of unemployed youths.
WORKING ROUND THE CLOCK
“With an investment of as little as Sh6,000 for an acre, the grower is capable of reaping more than Sh100,000 in return after only four months,” said Kairo, adding it is for this reason the assembly will give top priority to the funding of pyrethrum.
“As an assembly, we shall support the revival efforts of this cash crop,” added Kairo.
He said as a step towards achieving that goal, the assembly through the agriculture committee will ensure the money allocated is well utilised to purchase the seedlings.
“This time round I will ensure the assembly takes a leading role in pushing for the pyrethrum agenda, which I am happy has the full backing of Governor Lee Kinyanjui who is also passionate about the revival of the crop,” said Kairo.
PPCK acting Managing Director, Paul Lolwerikoi, said the processor is working round the clock to make sure they have enough planting materials to be planted on more than 4,000 acres in the county.
Lolwerikoi said that the national government has released Sh70 million to clear the farmers’ dues.
“I urge farmers in Nakuru to troop back to the farms as the government is keen in putting the sector back on its profitability lane,” said Lolwerikoi.
Kairo urged other licensed processing companies to partner with PPCK to improve on the quality of the planting materials.