Killer Daisy Growers in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda

The Pyrethrum daisy, with its potent insecticidal properties and wide range of applications, has been an important natural resource in the fight against pests and insects. Its effectiveness, coupled with its relatively low toxicity and environmental impact, has made it a popular choice for both agricultural and domestic pest control.

The Pyrethrum daisy flower is a natural insecticide flower that thrives at high altitudes, grows in volcanic soil and grows in many of the most interesting places in East Africa's Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. The Pyrethrum daisy is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 60 centimeters in height. It features finely divided, fern-like leaves that are grayish-green in color. The flowers are daisy-like with white petals and a yellow center. They are arranged in clusters at the top of long stems.

The Pyrethrum daisy produces natural insecticides called pyrethrins in its flowers. Pyrethrins are potent insecticidal compounds that effectively repel and kill a wide range of pests, including mosquitoes, flies, fleas, and moths. They act by disrupting the nervous systems of insects, leading to paralysis and eventual death.

To extract pyrethrins, the flowers of the Pyrethrum daisy are harvested and dried. The dried flowers are then crushed or ground to a fine powder. This powder contains the active pyrethrin compounds, which can be further processed and formulated into insecticidal sprays, powders, or other forms for commercial use.

Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide flower

In the 1970's, Rwanda began building its pyrethrum industry, regrettably conflicts and genocides caused the Rwandan infrastructure to fall. However, flower power is helping the small East African nation increase is trading power and income, the pyrethrum flower is in great demand by many international companies. 

SC Johnson Company is one of the world’s largest users of pyrethrum flower extract used in pest control products. Pyrethrins are one of the most widely used to control mosquitoes, lice, fleas, flies, moths, ants and ticks and have been used as insecticides for over 100 years. The U.S. Agency for International Development and SC Johnson Company funds the over 2 million dollar Rwanda Pyrethrum project from 2012-2015.

SC Johnson Company substantially increased its purchase of pyrethrum from Rwanda’s 15,000 farmers who harvest chrysanthemum flowers for pyrethrin in the Ruhengeri area of Rwanda.  

In Kenya, MGK, an accounting and auditing firm licensed the extraction and refining technology to the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya, PBK who collects flowers from growers in several regions in Kenya. In Tanzania, the pyrethrum industry is under operation of a private company Pyrethrum Company of Tanzania, PCT which MGK is its majority owner.   

Producers in East Africa, mainly Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda succeed in growing the pyrethrum flower because the unique plant thrives at high altitudes and in volcanic soil.  

Rwanda began building its pyrethrum industry in 1970

Pyrethrum is widely regarded as a natural and environmentally friendly insecticide. It breaks down rapidly in the environment, reducing the risk of residue accumulation. It is less toxic to mammals compared to many synthetic chemical insecticides, making it a popular choice for pest control in organic farming and gardening.

Besides its insecticidal properties, Pyrethrum has been used traditionally for medicinal purposes. It has been used topically to treat skin conditions like scabies and lice infestations. It is also known for its insect-repellent qualities and is used in some personal care products such as mosquito repellent creams and lotions.

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