Pyrethrum farmers have been advised to increase their production and meet the increasing global demand for pyrethrins – a product extracted from pyrethrum flowers and used for pesticides and different types of essential oils.
The call was made by different officials during a sequenced celebration of Pyrethrum Farmers Day held in Musanze and Nyabihu Districts on September 21, and 22, respectively.
Speaking to residents in Kinigi sector, Musanze District, the Governor of Northern Province, Dancilla Nyirarugero, advised farmers to value the pyrethrum crop for their self-development and also recommended an increase in the scale on which it is grown.
“You should value pyrethrum and increase its harvest. I urge you also to increase production and call up your neighbours to do so. Use the proceeds for your own development and savings,” said Nyirarugero.
With the present data provided by Horizon SOPYRWA- the sole pyrethrum processing factory in the country – there are about 37,000 pyrethrum farmers in the north-western region.
Currently, Rwanda exports about 20 tons of processed pyrethrin liquid annually, and according to the General Manager SOPYRWA, Gabriel Bizimungu, the factory intends to process more which would result in exporting up to 30 tons annually.
There are currently only four countries that produce pyrethrum. Besides Rwanda, other countries are Australia, Kenya, and Tanzania. So far Rwanda is second in production after Australia.
“A lot of clients come to us looking for our pyrethrin (oil liquid) because of its high quality. The market demand is large, and it’s a big opportunity for Rwanda,” Bizimungu told farmers.
According to a pyrethrum specialist at National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB), Fidèle Hakizimana, Rwanda contributes 15 per cent of the world market share and keeps growing.
“There are new market demands for pyrethrum-related medicine. It is also used as insecticides for cocoa.” Hakizimana told The New Times.
Farmers speak out
Several farmers attest to how pyrethrum farming has benefited them and their families.
Laurent Nkurunziza, 42, has been growing pyrethrum for 20 years and it has been his sole source of income. He said he has managed to get enough revenue to pay his children’s tuition.
He shared a similar testimony with Elias Kanyamuhanga, 66, who also speaks highly of the benefits he got from pyrethrum farming.
“Among the many benefits I get from pyrethrum revenues include being able to pay for medical insurance for my entire family. This is why I want to expand my land, hire farmers to work for me and get more revenue,” said Kanyamuhanga.
Other farmers like Théoneste Kabuga, 54, have been rewarded with cows by SOPYRWA for having quality yields.
“This cow is going to support me to get manure for better yields,” he said.