Industrial Africa Business Idea With A Flower: Pyrethrum

Industrial Africa Business Idea With A Flower: Pyrethrum

A call for more pyrethrum production businesses in Kenya!

africa business Kenya pyrethrum We did not have a guest post for a while, and I am pleased to announce another insightful post by Marc van der Sterren, who has just returned from Tanzania. Marc is an agricultural journalist from The Netherlands with a lot of African experience. Through his weblog, Farming Africa, he offers interesting news and insights about farming in Africa as well as all kinds of services around this theme. So feel free to get in touch with him!

Pyrethrum is a chrysanthemum-like plant which is the base of organic insecticides, which was once successful grown and marketed in Kenya. In the past, Kenya delivered 57 percent of the global demand of this natural insecticide. Today it’s only about 2 percent. The sector collapsed because of governmental mismanagement.

The Pyrethrum Board of Kenya (PBK) controls most of the current production chain from seed distribution to purchasing and processing of the pyrethrum extracts. However, the governmental organisation didn’t function well for several years. Another stakeholder on the scene is the Pyrethrum Growers Association, which is trying to empower Kenyan farmers in their production processes.

pyrethrumBesides internal mismanagement in the PBK monopoly, the demand for pyrethrum among farmers also fell when chemical insecticides became wider available and cheaper.

But this is changing fast: Now that the demand for organic products worldwide is on the rise, pyrethrum is destined to become popular once more. Botanical Resources Australia Pty. who produce 60% of the world’s insecticide on large scale in Australia states: “Environmentally sensitive, effective, and in ready supply, pyrethrum is the insecticide of the 21st.Century.”

In 2013 the Kenyan government issued the Pyrethrum ACT, which has been seen as a major step towards realizing a liberalized pyrethrum agricultural sub-sector in Kenya, thus ending the market monopoly of PBK. The new act means that both the association’s 6,000 members and new industry players can now enter the subsector as pyrethrum flower buyers and pyrethrum oil extractors. The Pyrethrum Growers Association is currently looking for support from investors who are willing to buy pyrethrum in the near future. Companies or individuals who see opportunities to collaborate with the Pyrethrum Growers Association are welcome to contact Farming Africa.

Having said that, you can grow pyrethrum easily in the rural areas of many African countries for the production of organic insecticides. Here is a rare African business idea for you!

Thanks, Marc for this short, but very eye opening post!

If you are interested to find out more about the plant, here is some information from industrial producers, Botanical Resources Australia Pty., in Australia. The way in which it can be used is very interesting, especially given that Africans suffer from the invasion of insects in many forms. So read on…and possibly grow your African business with this powerful flower!

Pyrethrum is a highly effective insecticide, which has been used for centuries against all manner of insect pests. Now the centre of a high tech agricultural industry in the Australian island state of Tasmania, pyrethrum is exported to the world for use in a wide range of insecticidal preparations.

What is pyrethrum?
Pyrethrum is a natural plant product that is produced by the pyrethrum daisy, Tanacetum cinerariifolium, a member of the Asteraceae family. It is concentrated in the flower head. The active substance is six esters known as pyrethrins which work in combination to kill insects. Pyrethrum is a unique insecticide in that, used correctly, it is safe for use near humans and warm blooded animals, in kitchens and restaurants, food processing factories and other sensitive environments. It also breaks down quickly, especially in sunlight, and is non-persistent in the environment.

pyrethrum 2
How does it work?
Pyrethrum affects the central nervous systems of all types of flying and crawling insects, disrupting normal function, so that nervous impulses fail. In the lowest concentration, this affects insect behaviour, producing a so called avoidance reaction, which results in insects fleeing the source of the chemicals. Importantly, pyrethrum induces abnormal behaviour in female mosquitoes, making them unable to exhibit their normal biting behaviour of seeking blood meals. At slightly greater concentration, pyrethrins make insects lose normal behavioural patterns. This means they abandon their hiding places and come out, or are flushed out into the open coming into contact with larger quantities of pyrethrins, which soon knock them down and kill them.

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Dr. Harnet
Dr. Harnet Bokrezion is the Founder of and co-author of the book '101 Ways to Make Money in Africa'. She coaches individuals and consults existing companies assisting them to make smart and strategic business decisions in Africa’s new emerging markets faster and more confidently. Dr. Harnet also regularly writes for the renowned DHL powered publication Get in touch to inquire how she can be of assistance to your own Africa business endeavors:

User Comments ( 7 )

  • Taiwo

    I really appreciate this wonderful insight on Pyrethrum, I am from Nigeria and I will like to know the type of weather condition is necessary to grow this plant and whether it is possible to grow it in Nigeria?
    I am also interested in going into farming but donot have the required capital, I am trying to prepare a business plan to raise funds but I don’t know how to write one. Can you help me with a business plan sample especially on Pig farming.
    Thank you in advance

  • Dr. Harnet

    Hi Taiwo

    Thanks for stopping by and for your questions. I hope Marc , who wrote the guest post, will get back to you with some insights regarding the ideal climate and soil conditions for Pyrethrum.

    Regarding the help you need with a business concept and business plan: Please contact me via and we can see how I can possibly assist you.

    You should read my blog on $100 start ups that became VERY successful – the last lady featured is Anna Phosa from South Africa who started an extremely successful pig farming business with no capital at hand. Read here (she is the last example on the post)
    And if you have not done so yet, search Anna Phosa’s story extensively on google and see what you can learn from her business journey. There is a way for you! Don’t give up, and march on with your plan!
    And a warm welcome to our growing Africa Business Jumpstart Community – please continue to engage at any time.

  • Hi Taiwo,

    I am not a specialist in pyrethrum growing. I am just a journalist. Which means I do have some contacts.
    Please send me an email: and I will send you the details of a professor at Wageningen University.

  • Thanks for this post. I would like to be a participant in changing Africa through sharing of information.

  • Saleem khan

    we have Pyrethrum seed
    we want sale this seed

  • Leonardo

    im from i think possible to start phyretrum culture here .how can i get seeds or dry flower to sell it here .is there a way to buy it and then send it here.thanks

  • Dear Saleem, We are interested to purchase Pyrethrum daisy seed. Where can we get in touch with you? Kind regards, Dr Merida Roets