Plans are underway for Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in collaboration with stakeholders in the pyrethrum industry to contribute to the rehabilitation of pyrethrum, a crop used to make insecticide that was until the beginning of the current millennium a considerable source of livelihoods to Kenya’s small scale farmers, and a major foreign exchange earner after coffee, tea and horticulture.
Its collapse then was largely blamed on sectoral malpractices, worsened by stringent and outdated regulations that led to declining prices, challenges that have since been addressed through the enactment of the Pyrethrum Act 2013, establishing the Pyrethrum Regulatory Authority that has again catapulted Kenya on the path to regain its position as the world’s biggest exporter of pyrethrum
Under the arrangement, JKUAT is working with the County Government of Nakuru together with Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Nakuru branch to promote the pyrethrum industry in Kenya. Through the project, JKUAT has offered to employ its well established value addition and wealth creation research and innovation skills to increase the sector’s local and global competitiveness.
‘Researchers at JKUAT are well prepared to venture into the necessary research endeavours to assist in mass production of superior and high yielding pyrethrum seedlings capable of enhancing quality as well quantity of the crop’ Prof. Mabel Imbuga, the vice chancellor, said at a ceremony at JKUAT, Wednesday August, 3, 2016,
The ceremony was attended by officials of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Nakuru branch and Naivasha based Aberdare Hills Golf Resort (AHGR) corroborating with the University.
The vice chancellor told the visiting officials that JKUAT had the necessary capacity to fabricate and produce pyrethrum processing machinery, suitable for use at household levels. This, she said, would empower additional value addition to the crop’s far-flung farmers, unable to access the main factory at Nakuru.
The vice chancellor who was with her Deputy vice-chancellors; Prof. Esther Kahangi and Prof. Romanus Odhiambo in charge of the Research and Academic Affairs portfolios respectively said the University had set aside one hectare piece of plot on which AHGR will put up two greenhouses to foster research in selected categories of fruits and vegetables. AHGR is renowned for its expansive experience in flower production for export in Naivasha.
KNCCI Nakuru branch Chairman Mr. Kamau, assured the vice chancellor, his chamber was closely working with the County authorities in Nakuru, to ensure the project intentions were realised.