MUSANZE — A new support project PYRAMID, has been launched with financial commitments of US $900,000 towards boosting pyrethrum growing in Rwanda.
The project was launched on Tuesday by the Rwanda Pyrethrum Processing Company-SOPYRWA, in partnership with SPREAD, a local NGO whose focus is ‘sustaining partnerships to enhance rural enterprises, and agro-business development.’
The three-year project meant to enhance production of quality pyrethrum will be jointly supported by SC Johnson, one of the leading pyrethrum consuming companies and producer of insecticides in the world, and USAID.
The project has come at a time of slump in national production output of pyrethrum, from 12,000 metric tonnes in 2004 to only 209 metric tonnes last year, according to a report from SOPYRWA.
Speaking during the launch, David Rwiyamirira, the General Manager of SOPYRWA, admitted that the crop production is still low despite the good climate, soils and altitude existent locally.
He attributed this to poor agricultural practices and in particular pointed out lack of appropriate drying materials and lack of adequate crop husbandry among farmers.
Highlighting the objectives of the project, the director of USAID-SPREAD project Dr. Timothy Schilling, said the project will undertake to address the existing challenges faced by the farmers in order to raise pyrethrum grower’s incomes and profits.
He further added that in order to turn around production the two existing cooperatives of pyrethrum growers namely Kaima and Kaibu will be split into small groups which can easily be assisted under the project through extension services.
Schilling added that new improved genetical seeds will also be provided in order to realise better yields.
A GIS computer system will also be introduced to keep record of all farmers and how to routinely provide support to them.
The launching ceremony was attended by the governor of Western Province, Celestin Kabahizi, the Director of USAID Dennis Weller and several mayors from the districts where pyrethrum is grown.