US agency allows Kenyan firm to export pyrethrum products to America

A labourer displays harvested pyrethrum flowers. FILE photo | nmg
A labourer displays harvested pyrethrum flowers. FILE photo | nmg 

Kenya-made pyrethrum products will have easy access to the American market after the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) certified an Athi River-based firm as producer of pesticides.

Orion EPZ Ltd was granted an EPA establishment number — a registration number that recognises the firms as a producer of pesticide — paving the way for the sale of pyrethrum based products to the US.

This boosts Kenya’s pyrethrum sector, which in the 1980S accounted for nearly 70 per cent of the global market.

Kenya’s agriculture regulator — the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) — issued Orion a licence for pyrethrum production, processing and export in September.
The firm has appointed Green Earth Trust as its marketing agent.

The trust through the recently established Kenya Pyrethrum Joint Venture (KPJV) is looking to boost production and export market for Kenya’s pyrethrum.

“Orion EPZ Ltd is the only private entity in Kenya to have been allocated a pyrethrum processing establishment number by the EPA, a move that will link farmers to the market,” says Stephen Lumumba, chief executive KPJV.

He said the new association would help farmers access clean planting material and good prices for their flowers in a move aimed at reviving cultivation of the once vibrant crop.

“KPJV’s transformative agenda is based on the fact that the demand for Kenya’s pyrethrum overseas remains high and acknowledges the need for stakeholders to harmonise their revival programmes to avoid role duplication and exclusion of key actors,” he said.  

Most of the pyrethrum produced is meant for export with the local market consuming less than two per cent.

Data from AFA indicates that the volumes of flowers dropped from 390 tonnes in 2014 to 290 tonnes last year with projections for 2017 expected to dip further. This downs from 18, 000 tonnes in the 1980’s.

In 2014, the extract from pyrethrum exports earned the country Sh200 million, in 2015 the country received Sh207 from the crop followed by Sh120 million last year.