Pyrethrum is widely cultivated in the highlands of Rwanda by small scale farmers. The highlands have cool temperatures, high rainfall, fertile and well drained soils which make the highlands ideal for pyrethrum flower production. Pyrethrum continuously flowers for about 10 months in a year and the maturing of flowers occurs 3-4 month after planting.
Rwanda is currently producing about 5 percent (20 metric tonnes) of the world supply of pyrethrum and has a potential to expand its production up to 50 metric tons of the pyrethrum.
Areas that grow pyrethrum
About 25,000 farmers cultivate pyrethrum and the pyrethrum growing areas include;
Uses of Pyrethrum
The pyrethrum has the following uses:
- Pyrethrum contributes to the household incomes.
- Pyrethrum contains pyrethrins that are used as insecticidal properties of the plant.
- Pyrethrins are used to manufacture flea bombs, fly sprays and garden sprays.
- Used as natural medicine to control pests in the garden and weed is the solution.
- Pyrethrum is extensively used as a natural insecticide and botanical pesticide
- Hair care products like shampoos are used to treat ticks, lice, fleas and nits in humans and animals.
- Pyrethrum flowers are used to make coils that release mosquito repelling smoke upon burning.
The challenges in growing pyrethrum include the following:
- The crop production is still low because the inputs are also still low.
- Lack of appropriate drying materials.
- Lack of adequate crop husbandry among farmers.
- Production has continued to drop due to management problems.
- It is difficult to deliver the products from the farms to the factory.
- Poor infrastructures more especially in rural areas.