Firms get seedlings supply nod in pyrethrum revival bid

Farmers harvest pyrethrum flowers in Molo, Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Farmers harvest pyrethrum flowers in Molo, Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Kenya Plants Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) has licensed three nurseries to issue pyrethrum planting materials to 6,000 farmers in yet another effort aimed at reviving the ailing sub-sector.

The three are Highchem, which will operate in Subukia, Pygro in Bahati and the Chinese firm Senju that will operate in Uasin Gishu County.

“We want, before the next planting season, to have enough clean planting materials to be supplied to our farmers,” said Dr Immaculate Njuthe Maina, the Nakuru agriculture executive.

Seven other operators are waiting for Kephis approval.

The demand for seedlings has grown after farmers were paid their arrears totaling to Sh10.6 million by the Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK).

The PPCK, with six nurseries in Njoro, Molo, Limuru, Bahati, Nakuru, Olenguruone and Nyamira is among the top processors awaiting the Kephis approval.

Others include American firm Kentagra, which has a nursery in Elburgon Township, Africhem in Nyandarua, Egerton University and Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation’s Molo centre.

Botanical Extracts in Athi River and Stockman Rozen based in Naivasha are also seeking the regulator’s approval.

“We want to ensure the nursery operators are adhering to the best agronomical practices before we issue them with licences as we want our farmers to get it right and avoid losses due to bad seedlings after planting their materials,” said Dr Maina.

Nakuru is the home of pyrethrum with Molo sub-county being the leading growing area and is reputed for producing the highest pyrthrin content that attracts huge demand in the international market.

Other pyrethrum growing counties include West Pokot, Nyandarua, Bomet, Uasin Gishu, Kericho, Kisii, Elegeyo-Marakwet, Kiambu Baringo, Narok, Nyeri, Nyanmira, Laikipia, Meru and Nandi.