Nakuru County is on course in regaining its position as the leading pyrethrum producer in Kenya.

The government and other stakeholders have distributed more than 66 million seedlings to farmers since 2017 and more than 7,000 farmers have benefited.

Nakuru gets multi million pyrethrum processing factory

Up to 2003, Kenya had been the leading pyrethrum producer in the world for 60 years. Kenya controlled over 90 per cent of the market in the world in the 90s compared to today where it doesn’t appear anywhere.

But Nakuru County has been increasing the acreage under the crop attracting several companies which have been involved in the value chain. One of the companies is Kentegra which has been buying and processing pyrethrum from farmers in the county. It also has a presence in several other pyrethrum-growing counties.

On 10th July 2023, the US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman joined Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika during the official groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a multi-million pyrethrum processing factory by Kentegra Ltd in Naivasha, Nakuru County.

The US Ambassador said that the United States through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has committed close to $11 million in financing for the new facility that will create stable income for over 90,000 smallholder farmers and help revive Kenya’s once dominant pyrethrum industry. She added that the US is keen to help Kenya revive the sector which collapsed in the 90s.

Governor Kihika described the event as historical highlighting the significance of integrating agriculture and industry, showcasing the agro-industrial sector as a vital component of a progressive economy that surpasses mere raw material production and embraces industrialization. Kihika further expressed gratitude towards Kentegra and the US government for selecting Nakuru as the site for this factory, acknowledging its potential to generate employment opportunities for the local community.

“To us in Nakuru County pyrethrum farming is a flagship project through which we envision pyrethrum becoming our farmers’ main income-generating crop. Pyrethrum is grown in eight of our eleven constituencies in Molo, Kuresoi North, Kuresoi South, Njoro, Gilgil, Bahati and Subukia,” said Governor Kihika

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She added that the potential for pyrethrum farming stands at about 30,000 acres in the county with plans to increase the number of farmers benefiting in the value chain to over 10,000 between now and next year with the right incentives and programs.

Kentegra Company CEO Brian Mckenzie said a survey had proved that pyrethrum farming had positively impacted many families and once the processing factory was complete, it will also generate self-employment opportunities for a lot of people and offer a ready market for their produce.

The event was also attended by Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich, Nakuru Deputy Governor David Kones, Kentegra’s Chief Executive Officer Brian McKenzie, Chairman Ron Magnus, Agriculture CEC Leonard Bor, Land CEC John Kihagi, Trade CEC Stephen Kuria and various MCAs.

By Kimuri Mwangi

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