State in talks with investors to revive pyrethrum project
RESOURCES: The government has embarked on a quest to mobilise private investment in Local and international investors eye the untapped potential in the pyrethrum sub-sector as part of assisting Kenya to reclaim its share in the international market.
Ministry of Agriculture confirmed that intensive talks are going on between local and international processing companies interested in extending their resources in the industry with a view to restoring the subsector.
Miraa, Pyrethrum and other Industrial Crops (MPIC), one of the directorates created under the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) said the revival programme being fast-tracked by the government among other value chains, has received a lot of interest from investors.
Director of the directorate James Mutia said the renewed interest is expected to boost the farmers’ morale to increase production which has decreased by 97.2 per cent for the last three decades
“Local and foreign investors are willing to support the restoration of the once among leading foreign exchange earner to the country.
They will benefit from huge opportunities along the value chain –from farm to the final product level,” he said on phone.
Even though he declined to name the investors as nothing meaningful is yet to be realised from the talks, Mutia said even local young people are interested in joining pyrethrum farming.
The youth, he added, are willing to lease land and invest in pyrethrum farming.
Mutia said the expression of interest by the investors is over and above other strategies being pursued by both county and national governments.
Last week, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya launched a revival programme of the sub-sector that will be implemented in 19 pyrethrum growing counties.
The industry was at its peak in the 1990s when Kenya was the leading producer and exporter of pyrethrum and products globally.
But Munya observed that the industry started facing challenges towards the beginning of 2,000 losing its international grip.
“At its peak in 1992, Kenya produced over 18,000 metric tonnes compared to the current production of about 500 metric tonnes in the last decade. Kenya, however, still has the potential owing to the environment, legislation and the willing farmer base.
After liberalisation of the industry in 2013 following the enactment of the Crops Act (2013) and AFA Act (2013), the industry has witnessed a gradual increase of interest by farmers and investors at various levels of the value chain,” said Munya.
Rift valley is the highest producer of pyrethrum in Kenya accounting 80 per cent of the production.