SC Johnson, a company that is in partnership with USAID to enhance sustainable supply of Rwanda’s pyrethrum has said that the country has the potential to become a key global supplier of pyrethrum but said it would require SOPYRWA to produce at full capacity.
The revelations are contained in SC Johnson’s statement which was released last week at the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Programme (CAADP) Post-Compact meeting held at Kigali Serena hotel.
In the statement, the company said that Rwanda has fertile soil, correct altitude, ample rainfall and large farmer base.
SC Johnson said that Sopyrwa is a world class facility operating well below full capacity yet there is increasing pyrethrum demand on the global market.
SOPYRWA is Rwanda’s sole pyrethrum refinery which uses out growers to enhance the collection, drying and transportation of high-quality pyrethrum flowers.
Statistics by SC Johnson show that Rwanda’s pyrethrum production has been decreasing since 2004. Pyrethrum out put volumes dropped from 1,400 tonnes in 2004 to 500 tonnes in 2008.
Currently, Rwanda produces only 5 percent or 20 metric tonnes of the world supply but has the ability to expand its production up to 50 metric tonnes of the refined pyrethrum.
Total world demand of refined extract is estimated at 400 metric tonnes while world supply is estimated at 100 metric tonnes. This means world- wide pyrethrum supply is less than 50 percent of the world demand.
“Pyrethrum content in flowers has decreased significantly from 1.4 percent to 0.9 percent, seed stock has genetically degraded and farmers were de-motivated due to uncertain and reduced pyrethrum income,” the statement said.
SC Johnson said that the sector faces general challenges in agribusiness across region. It is also challenges of low storages capacity, low distribution on the national, regional and intercontinental levels with lack of value additive which is “processing”.
According to SC Johnson, sharing the capacity across sectors, optimising distribution networks and the maximisation plus utilisation by aggregating demand can lead to an increase in production hence more revenues.
David M. Rwiyamirira, the General Manager SOPYRWA said the company’s processing plant is currently operating far below 10 percent its capacity.
The Musanze-based plant has the capacity to process at least 50 metric tonnes of refined extract per annum.
Rwiyamirira says that in the next five years, the plant is targeting Rwf15.2 billion total sales of refined extract.
The total land exclusively available for Pyrethrum plantation is equivalent to 5,600 hectares and has the capacity to produce 4,500 metric tonnes of dry flowers per annum if properly harnessed.
It is also said that Rwanda’s volcanic soils produce the best refined pyrethrum on the world market, scoring between 70-80 percent of the pure active ingredients.
SC Johnson says that it is working to improve farmer income and overall output of Rwandan Pyrethrum.
The company says that it will use deep distribution efforts to make pyrethrum products available in lower income markets while focusing on mutual value.