• April 15, 2024
  • Last Update April 15, 2024 8:58 AM
  • Nairobi

Central Pyrethrum Farmers Decry Substandard Seeds, Delayed Payment

Central Pyrethrum Farmers Decry Substandard Seeds, Delayed Payment

Nakuru,

Friday March 15, 2024

KNA by Anne Sabuni

Pyrethrum farmers in Nyandarua and Nakuru counties have decried meager payment of their pyrethrum produce by the Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya, calling on timely payment.

The farmers accused the company for hording 1.4 tonnes of seedling that ought to be distributed to the farmers for timely planting, saying most seeds reached them when they are deteriorated and unable to germinate.

“We don’t reap as expected from this crop. The seedlings are substandard and fail to adapt to our farms despite heavy irrigation and care. We have leased these farms and are spending heavily in irrigation and sustaining the crop,” noted Sylvester Maina Irungu, a farmer in Mirangine, Nyandarua County.

The farmers noted that the state enterprise had quoted low, their price, urging them to raise the payments from Sh250 to Sh350 for a kilo of the flowers.

“We get paid with delays and this is the money we need to offset the debts that we accrue for labour and other expenses on the farm. We continue to reap way lower that the crop is expected to perform, further pushing us away from this business,” regretted Paul Kamau Maina, a youth in Mirangine

Joseph Kimani, an expert in pyrethrene extraction decried heavy losses as over Sh150 million worth of pyrethrum was destroyed in silos at Nakuru’s London ward based factory.

“We are saddened by the poor management of this factory; from untimely dispersal of seedlings to meager payments. We have been encouraged to do business farming yet we cannot afford pesticides that make it easy to control weeds,” he noted.

Private firms such as Kentagro and Botanica were the few private companies reaping from the business with the farmers urging the state enterprise to change its management structure to remain a flout and benefit the country.

“Our own company has the potential to employ these idle youths that have now been lost in drunkenness. Why is the government spending millions in fighting brews instead of channeling the funds to stabilizing these industries and making farming lucrative?” PPCK Managing Director Mary Onditi noted that the payments per kilo of the flowers was Sh.300 paid in advance for one percent of pyrethrene.

“Once the flowers are delivered and their poison level measured, we then pay more as per the content. The seedlings we have right now in the country have the potential to accrue even Sh750 per kilo,” added Onditi, noting that the crop lasted for three or four years and were less susceptible to diseases.

Onditi exuded confidence that the crop was better placed to change lives for the Kenyan farmer, urging them to prepare their farms well, and get the best seeds.

“We have the best seeds in the market and despite the shortage, we have been distributing between September and December when the rains are dwindled and do hope that nursery operators will be available to the farmers from April, this year at Sh.3 for every seedling,” noting that the company will subsidize the pyrethrum.

Onditi urged the farmers to utilize the existing crop to get seedlings, in a bid to take advantage of the crop that yields more. She added that a variety of seedlings were available as per their altitude.

Courtesy; KNA

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