SUB-SECTOR GENERAL OVERVIEW
Pyrethrum has been of historical importance and commercially exploited since the 1850’s when it was popularly traded as the Dalmatian flower. It is a perennial herbaceous plant grown for its insecticidal properties found in flowers.
Pyrethrum was introduced in Kenya in 1928. By 1935 a total of 170 metric tonnes (MT) were produced, which was above the local demand, necessitating a search for an export market.
The pyrethrum legislation the Pyrethrum Act (Cap 340) was repealed in January 2013.
The crop thrives at altitudes of 1700 – 2900 m and is currently grown in Nakuru, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kiambu, TransNzoia, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Nandi, Baringo, Laikipia, Narok, Kericho, Bomet, Kisii, Nyamira, Bungoma (Mt. Elgon) and Meru counties. Embu has not returned to growing the crop.
Kenya was the leading world producer of natural pyrethrum since World War II, accounting for over 70% of all pyrethrum traded in the World. Over the years, the pyrethrum industry has faced challenges such as competition from synthetic pyrethroids, limited usage of the products, unreliable supply to customers and regulatory pressure in the pesticide industry.
Pyrethrum as an enterprise has an average gross margin of Ksh 170,000 per hectare per year under current market price and can occupy as little as one-quarter of an acre but remain profitable to the farmer. It is the only crop whose producer price can only increase and hardly drops unlike its competing enterprises with highly unpredictable prices. Pyrethrum fits well in the economic pillar of Vision 2030 on the grounds that it is a crop that can be converted into a myriad of value added products. Every single product derived from pyrethrum becomes a raw material for other products.
From the environmental perspective, pyrethrum is a natural source of biodegradable insecticides and acaricides used in the crop protection, animal industry and public health sub-sectors. Pyrethrum quickly knocks down and ultimately kills a wide range of household insects such as fleas, flies, cockroaches, lice, bedbugs and various insect pests that infest stored grain and other foodstuffs.
To be a leading Authority in regulation, development and promotion of pyrethrum and other industrial crops.
To regulate, develop and promote agricultural production by boosting growth and productivity of pyrethrum and other scheduled crops.
- Customer focus
- Pyrethrum ( Chrysanthemum)
- Khat/Miraa ( Catha edulis) Fodder crops;
- Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana)
- Silver leaf desmodium (Desmodium uncinatum)
- PYRETHRUM (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium)
Pyrethrum is the world’s foremost natural insecticide, prepared from the daisy-like flowers of Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium. It possesses a unique combination of insecticidal properties, which stem from the fact that pyrethrum contains not one but six distinct related insecticidal ingredients collectively called “pyrethrins”.
Grows best in areas of altitude between 1500m and 3000m above sea level on well drained volcanic soils with PH of 5.6, temperature between 5-15°c with a minimum of 750mm of rainfall which is well spread throughout the year.
Pyrethrum is grown mainly in the following counties; Nakuru, Nyeri, Nyandarua, Kiambu, Meru, E/Marakwet, Kisii, Nyamira, Nandi, Narok, Kericho, Bungoma, Laikipia, West Pokot, Bomet, Trans-Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Baringo and Uasin Gishu.
Spacing: 30cm (intra-row) and 60cm inter row.
Population: plant population of 22,000 plants per acre.
Fertilizer: recommended use of TSP (46%) at a rate of one tablespoon per hole (200kg/Ha). Use farm-yard manure at a rate of 4 tonnes per acre.
Plant propagation: Use of recommended hybrid seeds and high quality clones.
Cutback: done before onset of long rains. Recommended at 15cm above the ground level.
Rotation: every 3-4 years of economic production of pyrethrum.
Harvesting: Flowers are picked when ray florets are horizontal and ¾ of disk florets are open at every 2 weeks.
Post Harvest handling: Flowers are dried immediately after picking under direct sun or on locally fabricated solar drier.
Dried flowers are delivered to collection centres and consequently to a processing unit immediately to avoid loss of pyrethrins during storage.
Packaging is done in recommended gunny bags maximum weight of 30kgs for transportation.
PAYMENT TO GROWERS
Payment is calculated on the basis of quantity (Kgs) of flowers delivered and quality (pyrethrins content) after laboratory analysis.
Unique insecticidal properties of pyrethrum products
- Rapid knockdown and kill
- Bio-degradable in the environment
- Broad spectrum of activity against insect pests
- No significant insect resistance cases reported
- Greater ‘flushing’ power than any other commercial insecticide.
- It is one of the safest insecticides known, PRODUCTS
- Refined pale extract – a high grade fully refined product used in making insecticidal aerosols and sprays.
- Oleo-resin- a crude extract suitable for agricultural sprays and making of mosquito coils.
- Fine powder-used for formulating insecticidal dust and mosquito coils.
- Coarse marc-used as cattle feed and for control of stalk borers in cereal crops. It is rich in carbohydrates, fibre and proteins. It is also effective against internal parasites in animals.
- Vegetable waxy resins- by product used for formulating acaricides.
- End use/consumer
These include; Aerosols, liquid sprays, mosquito coils, fogging sprays, vape mats, vermin powders, grain storage powders etc.
1. Domestic/Household– effective against wide range insects including cockroaches, bed bugs, houseflies, fleas and other household pests.
Coachroach Housefly Bedbug Flea
2. Agriculture/Horticulture- safe, effective fast acting insecticide/miticide for control of biting and sucking crop pests. Powders are used for control of grain storage pests e.g. beetles, weevils and larger grain borers (LGB).
- Larger Grain borer
3. Public Health- For control of adult mosquitoes and larvae as an indoor/outdoor spray and larvicide respectively.
- Adult mosquito
- Mosquito larvae
4. Animal Health- For control of ticks and tsetse flies on livestock.
PROCESSING OF PYRETHRUM
Pyrethrum processing generally involves, grinding dry flowers to coarse powder (grist), then petroleum solvents are used to extract pyrethrins from the grist. After which the solvent is distilled leaving behind crude pyrethrum extract or oleoresin. Plant waxes and colours are then removed from the crude extract in the refining process to produce high quality refined pyrethrum extract.
- Final Product – Refined Pyrethrum Extract
PYRETHRUM PROCESSING COMPANIES IN KENYA
There are currently two processing companies in the country where interested buyers can obtain pyrethrum technical products. These are;
- Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK)– located in industrial area, Nakuru.
2. Botanical Extracts(BE) –EPZ located in Athi River
KHAT/MIRAA (Catha edulis)
Temperature: Needs temperature of 10 – 30oc. Adversely affected by frost and hail
Rainfall: It does well in an environment with well-distributed rainfall and can also do well under irrigation with sunny intervals and rainfall ranging from 1100mm. – 2500mm
Soil: Grows well in all types of fertile soils.
Khat seedling has been improved through tissue culture technology to withstand most of the harsh climatical conditions.
- Spacing : Plant the seedlings in holes of 2 feet wide by 1 feet deep.
- Fertilizer : mix approximately 2kgs of dry manure with fertile soil and irrigate with water in the whole (approx. 5 litres per hole). Plant the seedling then cover with mulch. Continue watering the trees at intervals of 3 days if there is no rain. After three months top dress with CAN fertilizer.
- Population : An acre requires approximately 2,200 seedlings with a spacing of 1.5 meters between seedlings.
- Harvesting & Economic value : After 2 years of planting, you can harvest from one tree between 3-5 kgs after every 14 days. Harvest per annum is around 130 kegs per tree at a market price of approximately Kshs 800 to 1500 per Kg.
Miraa has a wide market all over the world. It’s exported in the Somalia, Yemen, Djibouti, Uganda and Ethiopia.
1. Rhodes grass
Rhodes grass is a vigorous, perennial grass, originating in South-Africa, with a strong root system that gives it good drought tolerance.
It spreads quickly, forming well ground cover, and grows to 1.5 m under a wide range of conditions. It is useful in the cut-and-carry system and for open grazing. It is popular for hay making with the common varieties being Giant, Boma (in photo), Mbarara and Masaba Rhodes.
Grows at altitudes from 600 m to 2000 m. It does well in areas
receiving more than 250 mm rainfall annually and also persists well under drought conditions.
Grows in a wide range of soil conditions but performs best in loamy, fertile soils. It does not do well in alkaline or very acid soils.
It is best grown as a pure stand. Plough and repeat at least once to make a fine seedbed. Plough again when the weeds
have emerged to reduce competition during establishment. Sow immediately after this ploughing.
Rhodes grass is usually established from seed but root splits can also be used. The best time to sow where there are two rainy seasons is during the short rains. Where there is one rainy
season, plant from early to mid rains. Sow when the soil is loose (dry). Make furrows 25 cm apart, using a peg to measure. Drill the seeds in the furrows, at a seed rate of 12 kg per hectare (2.5 acres). That means 1.2 kg will sow 0.1 ha or 1/4 acre. Cover the seeds lightly, for example by placing light tree branches over
For high productivity, apply nitrogen fertilizer, preferably during heavy rains, at the rate of 100 kg per hectare.
Make sure the plot is weed free when it is first sown. Remove weeds between the rows using a hand hoe.
No diseases of importance but common pests such as armyworm may attack the pastures.
Start harvesting or grazing soon after grass flowers. If cutting, cut close to the ground to stimulate spreading. Leave to grow again until next flowering.
When well managed, Rhodes grass can yield average of 8 tonnes dry matter per hectare per year.
2. Silver Leaf Desmodium ( Desmodium uncinatum)
It is a vigorous deep rooted trailing perennial plant with distinct silver stripes on leaves and purple flowers.
- Fast growing giving good ground cover in 4- 5 months
- Shade tolerant
- Tolerates poor drainage and flooding
- Restores soil fertility and not well adapted to compacted soils
- Good palatability
- Use for biological insect control
- Useful for grazing or cut and carry
- Not adapted to areas with frost
- Not suited to very dry areas
- Cannot withstand overgrazing
Field preparation – well prepared and ploughed field.
Establishment– broadcast seed at 4kg/ha at 1 cm depth and cover.
Innoculant – specific Rhizobia needed.
Fertilizer– apply 100 kg DAP per hectare or 2.5t manure per hectare.
Weeding – slow early growth so weed once at the fourth week after establishment.
Harvesting – at flowering after about one year.
Expect about 17 t/ha fresh forage, which can be wilted
or used as cut and carry. Protein content of the forage
is about 15%.
Pyrethrum Powder 1.3% w/w AOAC
Pyrethrum Extract Crude Oleo-Resin 25% w/w PBK
Pyrethrum Extract Pale 25% w/w, 50% w/w, 50% w/w AOAC pharma, and Conc. w/w AOAC
Vegetable Waxy Resins (V.W.R.)
Pyrethrum Fine & Coarse Marc
End-Use Products (insecticides)
Pyagro 4EC – Crop protection product
–Pydust 1% – Grain storage product
–Pymos 0.6EC – Adult Mosquito product
–Pylarvex 0.5EC – Larvae stage mosquito product
–Pynet 5EC – Net treatment product
–Pytix 4% – Tick control product.