Pyrethrum

Introduction 

Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) is a perennial crop with a daisy-like appearance and white flowers that possess insecticidal properties. It was introduced in the county by white settlers in 1928. Pyrethrin, the insecticide produced from this plant is the oldest insecticide known to man and well recognized for low mammalian toxicity and is not persistent in the environment. It rapidly knocks down and kills a wide range of insect pests.

Over the years, the production of the crop increased steadily and during the 1980s and 1990s, Kenya was a global leader in pyrethrum production, accounting for over 70 percent of the global market. The sub-sector supported more than 200,000 small-scale growers, 3,000 workers directly employed by the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya and over 2 million people deriving their livelihood from the industry either directly or indirectly. The sub sector was a major foreign exchange contributor with earnings rising up to KSh. 2.1 billion in 1996.

The pyrethrum industry has however suffered a steady decline starting from early 1990s when production declined from about 18,000 MT in 1991 to about 4,000 MT in 1999. The decline was caused by among other reasons: non conducive policy and regulatory environment; unmet demand; mismatch between market requirements and production (cyclic trend), farm level issues such as low productivity and profitability, scarcity of planting materials, high costs of production, delayed payments to farmers, and increased competition from synthetics.

Flower deliveries to PBK factory in Nakuru have been declining in the last five years for reasons alluded to earlier with subsequent drop in productivity. This underpins the importance of tackling farm level issues such as access to clean and high quality planting materials, provision of extension services and prompt payment to farmers on deliveries to ensure a vibrant pyrethrum sector back to its former fame.

Pyrethrum is grown in 19 counties in the country namely Nakuru, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Laikipia, Meru, Embu, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, TransNzoia, Bungoma (Mt. Elgon), Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Kericho, Bomet , Kisii , Murang’a, and Nyamira.

Pyrethrum Full Pdf

INPUTS

Pyrethrum is propagated by splits/crown division and seed/seedlings that are mainly produced by PRA in the satellite farms and through licensed nursery operators. The seedlings are usually grown in a seedbed; and on attaining 4 or 5 inches high, they are transplanted to the field on a spacing of 30 x 60-90cm.

Superior varieties are developed by Pyrethrum Regulatory Authority (former PBK) in collaboration with KALRO at Molo research Centre. The recommended variety for high altitude is P4 while varieties for medium to low altitude are K218 and K235.

The other inputs include Fertilizer of 5g DAP per hole at planting and 250-300kg/ha of TSP per hole after cutting back. Manure of 10 ton/ha (a handful per hole) for poor soils 3 months before planting is recommended.

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PRODUCTION

Climatic conditions, ecological zone

It is grown in Altitude of 1800-3000m a.s.l with a rainfall above 750mm pa. The soils are expected to be fertile, deep and well-drained, loamy volcanic soils with a pH >5.6. The temperature should be less than180 C for at least 6 weeks.

Ecological Requirement

Altitude:                     1800-3000m a.s.l

Rainfall:                     Above 750mm pa

Soils:                           Fertile, deep and well-drained, loamy volcanic soils, pH >5.6

Temperature:            Less than180 C for at least 6 weeks.

Plough before the onset of rains and eliminate perennial weeds. Planting is done in holes of 10x15cm. Propagate clones by splitting of mature plants or tissue-culture Raise varieties in a nursery first but uproot and discard after 4 years. In Kenya, pyrethrum is cultivated almost entirely by small-scale farmers. The crop is favoured by cool temperatures, which occur in the higher altitude (1800-2900m). Higher temperatures and dry weather have negative effects on flower yields and pyrethrin content. Recommended spacing is 30 x 60-90cm between raws and 10 x 15 between plants. Cutting back is usually near the end of the dry season and a new crop is established after 3 to 4 years

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HARVESTING OF PYRETHRUM FLOWERS

Harvesting is done once in 2-3 weeks when the daisies are in full bloom as this is when the concentration of pyrethrin is at its peak. Flowers are carefully picked and hanged in bunches in a warm, airy place to dry. The amount of pyrethrin concentration in the flower is determined by genotype and the environment (altitude, temperature). Farmers will make the most pyrethrin production by picking flowers at the right time. The flowers develop through 8 stages from the bud to the seed stage. Young immature flowers contain low pyrethrins concentration, which increases from the bud stage up to when its disc florets are open, and then decline gradually. The right stage to pick pyrethrum is when the ray florets are horizontal and the disc florets are open.

Flower harvesting is selectively done by hand and flowers dried and delivered to the factory for processing. The best picking method is by holding the flower between the first and second finger and then pulling the flower head with the thumb.

 

Pyrethrum is dried in natural sunlight on a raised bed rack or by solar drying to 13% moisture content before transporting to the flower collection centers.

Harvesting is done once in 2-3 weeks when the daisies are in full bloom as this is when the concentration of pyrethrin is at its peak. Flowers are carefully picked and hanged in bunches in a warm, airy place to dry. The amount of pyrethrin concentration in the flower is determined by genotype and the environment (altitude, temperature). Farmers will make the most pyrethrin production by picking flowers at the right time. The flowers develop through 8 stages from the bud to the seed stage. Young immature flowers contain low pyrethrins concentration, which increases from the bud stage up to when its disc florets are open, and then decline gradually. The right stage to pick pyrethrum is when the ray florets are horizontal and the disc florets are open.

Flower harvesting is selectively done by hand and flowers dried and delivered to the factory for processing. The best picking method is by holding the flower between the first and second finger and then pulling the flower head with the thumb. Pyrethrum is dried in natural sunlight on a raised bed rack or by solar drying to 13% moisture content before transporting to the flower collection centers.

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PYRETHRUM AGGREGATION AND PROCESSING

The dry flowers are taken to various designated collection centers in the various growing areas. Transportation of dry flowers coordinated by Pyrethrum Regulatory Authority using either Lorries or pickups on monthly basis to the processing plant in Nakuru and other licensed processors. On arrival to the factory the sampling is undertaken to determine pyrethrin content for each grower. This ensures that the grower is paid according to the quality of his/her produce.

There are two extraction plants at the PRA in Nakuru. Currently the plant that is in operation has a capacity of 25MT per day. The new plant, which has capacity of 50MT per day has not been commissioned because of low flower production and deliveries, and some aspects that are not complete. To ensure the viability of the processing company it is imperative that sufficient flowers are produced to utilize the installed capacity of the factory. Currently, the country is estimated to produce between 2000-3000 MT per year of dried pyrethrum flower against an estimated potential of 20,000 MT.

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PYRETHRUM MARKETING

The produce is collected by the aggregators at collection centers,cooperative societies or individual farmers. The dray flowers are sold through cooperative societies and marketing agents. An advance payment of ksh100 kg is paid on delivery and balance paid after pyrethrin analysis in the factory. Farmers are also receive bonuses annually based on profitability of the industry.

The refined product, pale extract, is the current cash cow for PBK. It has a range of market segments in the Americas (52%), Europe (35%), Austria & Asia (8%) and Africa (5%). One kg of the product sells at US$ 270 and due to the high demand, the customers always desire to pay up-front once processing is assured. PBK has also diversified its value chain by formulating insecticides. To date, six end use products have been registered, one of which gives a profit of Ksh 22,000 per kg compared to Ksh. 3,000 per kg profit margin from the refined product.

For every processing of 100 MT of flowers, 1.65 MT of the refined product is produced; refined product, known as pale extract which is mainly exported (80%) and remaining 20%  sold to formulators for value addition .

There are three (3) levels of Product Portfolio: Technical product, By-Products and End-Use Products (insecticides). After value addition the above 3 categories of products confirms that pyrethrum fits well in the economic pillar of vision 2030 as the crop can be converted into a myriad of value added products. Thus, every single product derived from pyrethrum becomes a raw material for other products.
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POLICIES.

From 1938, the pyrethrum Industry was governed by the Pyrethrum Amendment Ordinance of 1938 which created the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya. This was amended in 1964 through the enactment of the Pyrethrum Act  CAP 340 of 1964 which established the  Pyrethrum Board of Kenya and the Pyrethrum Marketing Board (PMB). These were later merged through an amendment in 1977 to form one body, PBK. The function of the PBK was to  regulate the growing and licensing of pyrethrum in the country. The PBK was also the only body mandated to carry out commercial functions in the industry. In 1963, the PBK in a joint venture with Mitchell Cotts and the Commonwealth Development Corporation established the Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK). PBK later acquired the shares of the other shareholders and became the sole owner of the PPCK. In 1973, PBK opened a liaison office, the Kenya Pyrethrum Information Centre (KPIC), in Salzburg, Austria, as a requirement to sell in the European market.

In 2013, the Pyrethrum Act CAP 340 was repealed by the Crops Act 2013. On the same, day the Pyrethrum Act no. 22 of 2013 which established the Pyrethrum Regulatory Authority (PRA), was also enacted. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods Authority (AFFA) Act, 2013 takes over all the former institutions established under the repealed Acts which included the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya.

 

Service providers

Service Provider Service Contacts
KALRO Research  
Pyrethrum Regulatory Authority Research, extension, Processor, Regulator  
County Governments Extension  
Senju International Ltd

 

Commercial Nursery Operators

 

 
Highchem Agriculture Ltd

 

Commercial Nursery Operators, Processor  
KAPI Ltd Formulator  
Orion Formulator  
Bayer

 

Formulator