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Farmers urge State to increase pyrethrum sector funding

Monday August 12 2019

Pyrethrum Growers Association

Pyrethrum Growers Association national chairman Justus Monda (right) and a farmer at Mau summit in Molo, Nakuru County. 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 allocate funds to all 18 pyrethrum growing counties to boost production.

PGA national chairman Justus Mochache Monda said that this will make more processors invest in other counties apart from Nakuru.

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

“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.

520 METRIC TONS

The PGA boss said that since the production activities were concentrated in Nakuru County, the production of the crop has stagnated at 520 metric tons per year.

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

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 exchange.

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 on its knees.

SYNTHETIC PRODUCTS

Mr Monda said the government’s efforts to revive pyrethrum farming has come at a time when synthetic products have hit the international market and are giving local produce a competitive edge.

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

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 industry.

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

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

CORRUPTION

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

According to the latest report of Auditor General Edward Ouko, PPCK paid Sh20 million to casual workers to pick non-existent flowers.  

The report further notes that the company did not declare all money it collected from its leased houses. It failed to produce several logbooks of vehicles at the Nakuru yard.