Pyrethrum Pesticides, Insecticides Safe For Kenyan Farms

Nakuru based Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK) has called on the farmers in the region to adopt the use of organic pesticides and insecticides available at the company, as they were safe.

PPCK Managing Director Mary Ontiri noted that unlike synthetic pesticides, products from pyrethrum’s pyrethrin, were best suited to be applied on crops and for other household use, without harming the health of the consumers.

She said that the products, which were less in the market due to the dwindled supply of pyrethrum, were now available following the revival and liberalization of the sector that has seen many farmers in the region embrace pyrethrum farming.

‘Pyrethrin produces organic products that are good for spraying on cabbages, carrots and other vegetables, without having any side effects when ingested. We have products that will help fight household insects such as mosquitos, cockroaches, stock borers on maize as well as deformers for cattle. As the world works towards facing out synthetic products,
the only solution is pyrethrum as a natural remedy for pests and insects, as pyrethrins are safe,’ noted Ontiri, urging farmers to increase their acreage under the crop, for better returns.

Ontiri noted that Kenya pyrethrum had in the 1990s commanded over 70 percent of the international market, but the advent of synthetics diverted the use of organic pesticides, further dwindling in the market.

The liberalization of the market in 2013 however has seen more investors set base around pyrethrum producing counties, with the State owned enterprise expanding its reach for production, processing as well as marketing of pyrethrum and pyrethrum products.

‘We have now worked on the welfare of the farmer to have farmers get Sh300 per one percent pyrethrin content of their flowers delivered at our company. This is paid on delivery before processing that allows farmers to make more with additional percentage of pyrethrin,’ the MD said.

‘Pyrethrum is the way to go for farming in Kenya. Let the farmers understand the se
eds that are best for better gains. The country has the best seeds that can yield up to Sh750 per kilogram if well taken care of,’ she added.

Already, US- Kenyan Company Kentegra, best known for its production and selling of pyrethrin, is setting up a multi-million plant in Naivasha Sub County, seeking to recruit about 90, 000 small scale farmers through contractual farming.

Nakuru forms part of the larger community of pyrethrum producing counties in the country, with Nyandarua, Nyeri, Meru and Kiambu among others.

The crop that spans into four major growing zones in the country, best grows in regions with a minimum of 750 mm of rainfall that is well spread over the season.

‘What you grow in Nyandarua differs from what you grow in Bomet and also differs from those planted in West Pokot. We advise farmers to seek counsel from extension officers,’ added Ontiri, noting that farmers registered under a specific company were obligated to deliver flowers at the factory.

The crop takes six months before the firs
t flowers are harvested and stays on the farm for about 3 to 4 years, before they are rotated to another farm. The harvesting takes a rotational two weeks, with occasional pruning to allow for regrowth and increased production.

Ontiri, who spoke in her Nakuru office, said that pyrethrum seeds were available for planting in nursery beds, with the vegetative variety which is also genetically stable, available with farmers.

Source: Kenya News Agency