In a remarkable resurgence, Kericho County is poised to reclaim its position as the third-largest pyrethrum producer in Kenya, heralding a new era of prosperity for its farmers. Once overshadowed by crops like maize, potatoes, and tobacco, pyrethrum is making a triumphant comeback, transforming the fertile landscapes of Kipkelion East Sub County, including Londiani, Tendeno, Sorget Kedowa, and parts of Chepseon Ward.
The Rise, Fall, and Resurgence: Pyrethrum’s Journey in Kericho
Nearly two decades after the decline of pyrethrum due to the adverse impact of synthetic insecticides and mismanagement by the Kenya Pyrethrum Board, Kericho is experiencing a revival. The catalyst for this renaissance is the proactive initiative led by the County Government of Kericho under the visionary leadership of Governor Dr. Erick Mutai.
In 2022, Governor Mutai kick-started a transformative project by distributing over 4000 bags of pyrethrum seedlings to more than 3000 farmers. This move empowered them to cultivate over 4000 acres of the once-lucrative crop, setting the stage for Kericho’s remarkable comeback as a pyrethrum powerhouse.
Kericho Emerges as the Third Biggest Pyrethrum Producer
With a strategic plan and unwavering support for farmers, Kericho has now secured its position as the third-largest pyrethrum producer in Kenya, following Nakuru and Bomet. In the past year alone, Kericho produced over 90,000 kgs of pyrethrum, generating a substantial income of Kshs. 28 million for the hardworking farmers.
Governor Mutai envisions Kericho surpassing Nakuru and Bomet once the vast expanse of 4000 acres, sown in November 2022 through the Equalizer Seedlings Program, reaches maturity. The potential to achieve a production target of 320,000 kgs, earning farmers over Kshs 100 million, is within reach, marking a significant milestone in Kericho’s agricultural renaissance.
Partnerships for Progress: Kentegra Biotechnology Holdings
Governor Mutai has secured a pivotal partnership with Kentegra Biotechnology Holdings, a U.S.-based company that plays a crucial role in uplifting Kericho’s agricultural landscape. Kentegra not only buys dried flowers from farmers but also provides essential support in the form of seeds, fertilizer, and technical expertise.
The agreement with Kentegra ensures that farmers receive prompt payments via M-Pesa within three days of delivering their produce, a testament to Governor Mutai’s commitment to financially empower the farming community. Kentegra’s unique approach of choosing a pyrethrum variety that produces flowers every two weeks for 10 months of the year ensures a regular cash flow, creating a sustainable and resilient income stream for farmers.
Looking to the Future: A Vision for Value Addition and Economic Growth
The forward-thinking leadership in Kericho, represented by Governor Mutai and Chief Officer Betsy Chebet, is not merely focused on present success but is also strategically planning for the future. The county aims to leverage its established County Aggregation Industrial Park to establish a factory for value addition. This visionary step will not only create jobs but also open up business opportunities for the people of Kericho.
As the pyrethrum renaissance unfolds in Kericho, the partnership with Kentegra and the prospect of a value addition factory lay the foundation for a thriving agricultural economy. The journey from the decline of pyrethrum to becoming a significant producer showcases Kericho’s resilience, determination, and the promise of a green revolution that will resonate for years to come.