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Kenya plans to revive pyrethrum cultivationPyrethrum farming was once a major source of income generating billions of shillings in foreign revenue in the 1980s before the sub-sector sunk on its knees.
Today, most of the 200,000 farmers who religiously smiled all the way to the bank every month have uprooted the crop due to non-payment of their arrears.
According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, the number of farmers growing the crop has nose-dived to between 15,000 and 20,000 in 18 counties.
During its hey days it was regarded as the 'black gold' and was the third largest foreign exchange earner with the government pocketing in excess of Sh18 billion annually during a good harvest.
Today the cash crop is struggling to stay afloat even as demand for the Kenya pyrethrum still remains high in the international markets.
The European Union and the United States are keen on chemicals sprayed on horticulture products entering their markets and the local pyrethrum has a ready market owing to its high quality and low chemical use.
Both European and America markets consume about 80 per cent of the Kenyan pyrethrum.
Despite this huge market, the sector has been reeling under huge debts due to years of mismanagement, corruption, theft and underfunding by the exchequer.
However, the government says the sector will soon come out of the woods and is banking on a revival plan that is slowly gathering momentum.
Read more at allAfrica
Publication date: 7/5/2017
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