Pyrethrum farmers have been urged to embrace modern agricultural practices and value addition to earn more from the crop.
Jean Claude Kayisinga, the National agricultural Export Board (NAEB) deputy chief executive officer, said this will help boost their earnings, and export volumes.
Kayisinga, who was speaking during Rwanda pyrethrum farmers’ day celebrations last week in Ngororero District, also urged other Rwandans to embrace the crop, saying pyrethrum is a high-value crop that could help improve their household income and standards of living.
The pyrethrum day is used to sensitise farmers and woo more people into growing the crop. It is also used to highlight the sector’s performance and new developments.
Pyrethrum is widely grown in Nyabihu, Musanze, Burera and Rubavu districts, with more than 10,000 households depending on the crop for livelihood.
So far, there are eight groups of pyrethrum farmers under the Rwanda Pyrethrum Co-operatives Union, according to NAEB. “The co-operative mobilises farmers and ensures they get required support, like access to fertiliser subsidies,” officials explained.
Rwanda is the second largest producer of pyrethrum in the world and has approximately 15 per cent of the world market share after Australia. Kenya and Tanzania and Papua New Guinea are the other main producers of the crop used to make perfumes and natural flower based insecticides, among other products.
NAEB is targeting to increase pyrethrum export volumes by availing farmers improved seeds to help increase yields and improve the quality of pyrethrum content.
So far, it is SOPYRWA the sole company involved in the production and processing of the pyrethrum.
“We are currently involved in intensive promotional campaigns of pyrethrum growing and improving quality along value chain by availing quality pyrethrum to growers,” Jean Marie Vianney, the head of diversification at NAEB, said.
“With the availability of raw materials locally, Rwanda provides potential strategic investors with good investment opportunities in the processing of pyrethrum insecticides and pesticides for the end market,” he added.
The country exports pyrethrum to the US, Europe and Asia, and the demand for the refined pyrethrum has recently increased pushing the price to about $175 (about Rwf132,125) per kilo in the past month. The country’s pyrethrum exports fetched $3.7 million (about Rwf2.8 billion). Rwanda is targeting to export over 33 tonnes of pyrethrum by end of the year.
However, the country’s export value and volumes declined in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2014, with earnings reducing by 19.5 per cent while volumes went down 21.4 per cent. Prices increased by 2.3 per cent on the global market, from $169.93 to $173.90 over the period.
Meanwhile, more than 100 pyrethrum farmers were given dairy cows, mattresses and farming inputs for exhibiting best farming practices.
Officials said this is part of efforts to encourage more people to embrace the crop.