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Pyrethrum growers need more funding, association says

Tuesday August 13 2019

Pyrethrum growing Nakuru

PGA National Chairman Justus Monda (right) with a pyrethrum farmer in Mau Summit, Nakuru County. Mr Monda urged the National Treasury to consider allocating funds to all 18 pyrethrum growing counties to boost production. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

FRANCIS MUREITHI
By FRANCIS MUREITHI
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The Pyrethrum Growers Association (PGA) has urged the National Treasury to consider allocating funds to all 18 pyrethrum growing counties to boost production.

PGA National Chairman Justus Mochache Monda said that this will make more processors to venture in other counties apart from Nakuru.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri on Friday announced that the Treasury would allocate Nakuru County Sh45 million in the current financial year to boost propagation of the cash crop.

17 COUNTIES

“If the government spreads the funding to the other 17 counties at an average of Sh45 million per county, it will spend Sh800 million and this will attract more processors in the counties and boost production,” said Mr Monda.

The PGA boss said that since growing of pyrethrum is concentrated in Nakuru County, the production has stagnated at 520 metric tonnes per year.

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He said 520 metric tonnes is not enough for the seven processors who are keen to buy dry flowers from the farmers.

At the peak of its production when Kenya was one of the largest producers of the cash crop, it was producing in excess of 18,000 metric tonnes per year, earning the country billions of shillings in foreign cash.

MISMANAGEMENT

Past mismanagement and corruption at the Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK), delayed payments to farmers, lack of certified seeds and poor payments by processors are some of the challenges that have brought the once lucrative industry to its knees.

Mr Monda said Kenya’s revival efforts are coming at a time when the synthetic products have hit the international market and are competing with local produce.

“As a country we need to go back to the drawing board and up our game because the monopoly we had in the 1980s and 1990s is no longer there,” said Mr Monda.

MORE FARMERS

The acreage under the crop has steadily increased to 6,000 acres as more farmers troop back to the farms following the government’s commitment to revive the pyrethrum industry.

Mr Monda thanked the government for allocating Nakuru County Sh45 million in the current financial year saying this will boost production.

“Nakuru is leading in the revival of the cash crop and if the government maintains the funding, Kenya will gradually regain its lost international market,” said Mr Monda.

However, the PGA boss urged the government to investigate rampant corruption at the Nakuru based factory.

MISUSE

“We cannot continue talking of the revival efforts while Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya is misusing the available resources by leasing out its properties without following due process,” said Mr Monda.

According to the latest report by Auditor-General Edward Ouko, the Nakuru based factory paid Sh20 million to casual workers to pick flowers that were not there.

The details of theft at the cash-strapped State processor are contained in the audit report for the year ending June 30, 2018, currently before the National Assembly.

The report further notes that the company understated the amount of money it collected from its leased houses and it failed to produce several logbooks of vehicles at the Nakuru yard.