Ensuring a blossoming pyrethrum industryContentThe Coffey-managed Business Advocacy Fund is helping to create sustainable economic growth and address poverty in Kenya. This series takes a look at how the Fund works.

In the early 1990s pyrethrum flower production was a blossoming industry. In 1993 alone, 221 tonnes of pyrethrum extract (a major ingredient in insecticides) was produced. However, the industry was governed by the Pyrethrum Act 1972, which was out-dated and did not necessarily apply to modern day practices. Farmers were also lacking the incentive to grow the flower: a significant number of government arrears owed to farmers were left outstanding and there was only one purchaser of pyrethrum extracts - the government run Pyrethrum Board of Kenya. These two factors significantly constrained the sector, resulting in extract production dropping to just 10 tonnes in 2007.

Although, the government had made several commitments to remove constraints on the pyrethrum sub-sector, a revised Pyrethrum Bill, drafted in 2000, was still awaiting parliamentary debate in 2010. The Pyrethrum Group Association (PGA) hoped to further reinvigorate the sector.

With the help of BAF funds the PGA advocated for the re-drafting of the Pyrethrum Bill. In doing so they hoped to ensure the incorporation of amendments that would truly benefit the sector.

The PGA had two key objectives:

  • Ensure the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya paid outstanding arrears to farmers, and
  • Ensure the new bill encouraged a liberalisation of the sector.

After successful lobbying, the Pyrethrum (Amendment) Act of 2013 became law. It included provisions encouraging the liberalisation of the sector. This ensured farmer representation on a newly established Pyrethrum Board. Thanks to the PGA, the government also allocated more than 500 million Khs (5.6 million USD) to pay outstanding arrears owed to farmers. Since the implementation of the act, an estimated 60,000 farmers have replanted pyrethrum, and production has increased by 250 metric tonnes over recent years.

The Business Advocacy Fund is a Danida-funded project. It supports business member organisations, trades unions and civil society organisations that engage in private public dialogue and advocate for improvements in the business environment in Kenya. BAF operates with the belief that effective advocacy will lead to investment that encourages more jobs, and that strengthens the Kenyan economy.