- US-Kenyan company Kentegra Biotechnology Holding has announced plans to set up a plant in Kenya.
- The company is constructing a processing plant in Naivasha that will benefit Kenya’s small-scale pyrethrum farmers.
- Kentegra Biotechnology, which produces and sells pyrethrin extracted from dried pyrethrum flowers to global insecticide and pesticide manufacturers, seeks to work with over 90,000 small-scale pyrethrum farmers.
US-Kenyan company Kentegra Biotechnology Holding has announced plans to set up a pyrethrum plant in Kenya. The company is constructing a processing plant in Naivasha, which will benefit Kenya’s small-scale pyrethrum farmers.
The company, known for producing and selling pyrethrin extracted from dried pyrethrum flowers to global insecticide and pesticide manufacturers, is in the process of signing contracts with roughly 90,000 small-scale pyrethrum farmers.
This development follows the firm’s recent deal to receive $15 million in equity and loan financing from Finnish development financier Finnfund and the United States Development Finance Corporation. The funding is intended to expand the firm’s production of pyrethrum flowers and revitalize the sector.
Kentegra Biotechnology to contract 9,000 farmers
Speaking during the Nakuru County Investment Round Table meeting in Naivasha, US Ambassador to the country Meg Whitman stated, “The United States through Kentegra Limited has invested heavily in pyrethrum and currently is engaging 9,000 farmers, with plans to expand the number to 90,000 countrywide. Nakuru’s location is ideal for investors to pitch in their businesses. This forum, the first of its kind is aimed at improving trade and investments, creating job opportunities for Nakuru residents and the Kenyan population at large.”
Pyrethrum farming in Kenya is primarily concentrated in the highlands of the Rift Valley, where the climate and soil conditions are ideal for cultivation. The main pyrethrum-growing regions in Kenya include Nakuru, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Meru, and Kiambu counties.
According to the latest data from DCA Kenya, pyrethrum was introduced in Kenya in 1928, and until 1998, Kenya used to produce between 10,000 to 15,000 metric tonnes annually on 100,000 acres, constituting about 70 per cent of the world’s supply. The global supply was about 20,000 MT, with 85 per cent of this purchased by the USA, Canada, South America, UK, EU, Australia, and other African countries.
However, the advent of cheaper synthetic pyrethroids in the early 1990s and increased pyrethrin demand led to a decline in the subsector’s production to 300 MT (2 per cent of global pyrethrum demand) on 3,000 acres valued at $10.6 million.
Climatic conditions for optimal pyrethrin yield
According to the firm, Kenya has ideal climatic conditions for optimal pyrethrin yield and has been a preferred supplier by major markets across the globe. In addition, Kenya can produce over 20,000MT per annum, generating $20 million – $75 million for farmers and $58 million in foreign exchange earnings from the refined extract alone.
“With an average household size in Kenya of 4.4 people, one processing company alone can potentially provide livelihoods benefiting more than 880,000 people,” the data states.
In May 2023, DCA Kenya partnered in a consortium with Kentegra Biotechnology and the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) to revive pyrethrum farming in Kenya and contribute to a sustainable business ecosystem.
The initiative aims to improve and resilient livelihoods for smallholder farmers and workers engaged in the pyrethrum sub-sector, focusing on Nakuru, Nyandarua, West Pokot, and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties. These four counties currently account for 60 – 70 percent of the national output of pyrethrum.
The goal is to achieve increased production and marketing of pyrethrum flowers processed to generate pyrethrin, a bio-degradable, non-persistent, and light-decomposed pesticide.