Pyrethrum stakeholders in Nakuru County have urged the government to appoint an experienced person as Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK) managing director who can revive the ailing sub-sector.
The industry players said they would prefer the next PPCK boss picked from one of the 18 pyrethrum growing counties.
However, they said the PPCK managing director must be a man of integrity who is dedicated to revive the sector.
“We shall not accept more recycling of people from the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters in Nairobi to come and mess the industry again,” said Nakuru County Assembly vice chairman of Agriculture committee Wilson Mwangi.
Their appeal comes in the wake of the arrest of the embattled PPCK boss Paul Lolwerikoi.
Mr Lolwerikoi was arrested in Nakuru Town on Friday over economic crime and other procurement irregularities. His arrest comes in the wake of widespread corruption claims at the agency.
The acting MD was also embroiled in a controversial award of tender to a private estate agent to collect rent from houses owned by the agency.
The Pyrethrum Growers Association (PGA) National Chairman Justus Mochache Monda thanked the government for moving swiftly to address the corruption at the state agency.
“This action by the government will stop further looting of the farmers’ property and tax payers’ money at the Nakuru factory,” said Mr Monda.
The PGA urged the other state agencies investigating the case to ensure all those involved in the plunder of the sector are arrested and charged.
“Pyrethrum sub sector has suffered for a long time and PGA hopes that this time around, all looters will be arrested and poor farmers will get justice,” said Mr Monda.
At the same time, the PGA boss said that the government should ensure that all looted property are recovered and returned to farmers.
“This is the perfect opportunity for the government to put in place a substantive board of management to streamline the operations of the ailing sub sector. This business of a state agency being a one man show should stop,” said Mr Monda.
PGA boss said that lack of checks and balances at the Nakuru factory due to lack of board of management has contributed to the fall of the sub-sector.
Mr Monda said the next PPCK boss should be a person who understands the industry properly.
“Most chemicals have been banned and therefore PPCK needs a good driver who will increase production and help Kenya regain its international market share which has declined,” said Monda.
The spokesperson of the Pyrethrum of Kenya Superannuation Pension Scheme, Harun Tinga said that the next MD should be a person who understands the history of the industry.
“Pyrethrum is a special industry and needs a captain who understands the crop well and it is important to appoint a managing director who understands operations of the industry from production to marketing,” said Mr Tinga.
Mr Tinga suggested that the current management of PPCK should reapply for the jobs claiming that some of them are not qualified to hold senior positions.
“This industry is messed up because even at the management level we have people who served as copy typists and are now heads of departments,” said Mr Tinga.
Mr Mwangi said many experts who had migrated to Rwanda and Tanzania are ready to come back and help in the revival process.
“Kenya has the best skilled manpower in the industry but they have shied away due to massive corruption in the sector,” said Mr Mwangi.
The ward rep cautioned the Ministry of Agriculture against appointing an MD who has little knowledge of the industry.