The future market for the flowers of Pyrethrum
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CTA. 1993. The future market for the flowers of Pyrethrum. Spore 44. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49115
Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium, used for the production of effective, environment-friendly biopesticides could be under pressure. Pyrethrum was first introduced to Kenya in 1928 and production has been increasing steadily in recent years. In 1991...
Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium, used for the production of effective, environment-friendly biopesticides could be under pressure. Pyrethrum was first introduced to Kenya in 1928 and production has been increasing steadily in recent years. In 1991 between 66% and 80% of the world's output came from Kenya, that IS 12,000 metric tonnes of dry flowers. Up to 95% of this was grown by some 100,000 small farmers, with plots of land ranging from 0.25 to 1ha. The pyrethrum harvest alone provided 2%, or US$23 million, of Kenya's foreign exchange earnings in 1991 and the industry has also been responsible for the improved infrastructure in these pyrethrum growing regions, such as the Rift Valley Province and Kisii in West Kenya. The market is now threatened not only by new cultivators of the plants, but by the large scale synthesis of pyrethrins, the active ingredients, through microbes and enzymes. Not surprisingly the leading importer of pyrethrins, the USA, IS also the leading researcher into the synthesis of pyrethrins. Some US biotechnology companies have received grants of up to US$1.2 million from the US Department of Commerce to help with research of this kind, the ultimate aim of which is 'to produce almost unlimited supplies of pyrethrum' through genetic engineering. When this threat becomes a reality, it could prove to be the end of the road for many pyrethrum growers. They are already struggling with low market values, high input costs for seeds, fertilizers and insecticides, and in many cases high transportation costs to the factories, which are often located far from the major pyrethrum growing regions. Despite all the problems, the pyrethrum industry officials remain optimistic. It is unlikely that the biotech-pyrethrins will be on the market within the next two years and even then the biotech-pyrethrins are likely to complement the natural pyrethrins already available, and not replace them. Peter Commandeur/John Komen Biotechnology and Development Monitor University of Amsterdam Department of international Relations & Public International Law Oudezijds Achterburgwal 237 1012 DL Amsterdam THE NETHERLANDS