State to distribute 1.8 billion pyrethrum seedlings to farmers

When former Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui interacted with Pyrethrum farmers in Keringet, Kuresoi South on July 21,2021. [File, Standard] 

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithuka Linturi has announced that the government will distribute 1.8 billion pyrethrum seedlings to farmers across the country.

Speaking during the Pyrethrum Farmers Day organised by Kentegra in Kipkelion East constituency, Kericho county, Linturi announced government's ambitious goal to reclaim 70 per cent of the global pyrethrum market.

"There is no other best pesticide than that which is produced from pyrethrum. When Kenya used to produce 70 per cent, the foreign exchange was very high. The government is deliberate in the promotion of the growth of pyrethrum," he said.

The CS revealed the involvement of four pyrethrum companies in the country in the development of the crop, acknowledging the support from companies such as Kentegra in the South Rift region.

"We want the pyrethrum board to be deliberate in what is required in supporting the farmers," he said.

During the event, Crop Development Principal Secretary Paul Rono addressed the issue of counterfeit seeds affecting the industry.

"The government is committed to combating the sale of substandard seeds by unscrupulous businessmen," he said.

Kipkelion East MP Joseph Cherorot urged the government to establish a minimum guaranteed pyrethrum price.

Kericho county Agriculture Department Chief Officer Betsy Chebet disclosed that the region currently boasts of 150,000 acres under the crop after 3,500 certified pyrethrum seedlings were distributed to farmers.

These farmers, mainly located in Tendeno/Soget, Londiani, Kedowa/Kimugul, and Chepseon ward in Kipkelion East constituency, yielded an impressive 93,000 kilograms of pyrethrum in December last year.

“ Kentegra Company purchased the pyrethrum at Sh310 per kilogram, resulting in an estimated earnings of around Sh28 million for pyrethrum farmers in Kericho,” said Chebet.

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