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Thursday, April 30, 2015
KIGALI, RWANDA — The delicate white chrysanthemum flowers that flourish across Rwanda can be harvested and processed to produce pyrethrum, a highly-effective insecticide that is sold to companies and brings income to farmers. However, the production process can be difficult—especially the crucial drying stage—making pyrethrum income unpredictable. To address this challenge, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with SC Johnson, a global manufacturer of household cleaning and pest control products, to develop a strong foundation for a sustainable pyrethrum sector in Rwanda. USAID and SC Johnson worked to improve the production and quality of Rwandan pyrethrum, as well as the management capacity of farmer cooperatives. Over the six years of this project, pyrethrum production in Rwanda has increased by 371% and its value to farmers has increased 264% to over $1.3 million in 2014.
This collaborative $2.4 million project, known as Rwanda Pyrethrum Program (RPP), was launched in 2009 and implemented by the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. RPP, which comes to a close in June 2015, has directly assisted more than 5,000 households from the northern and western pyrethrum growing regions of Rwanda. Farmers received intensive training on best farming and business practices as well as increased access to new technologies identified through research on pyrethrum production, soil fertility, and pest management. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Rwanda Agriculture Board assisted with these research efforts in collaboration with Horizon SOPYRWA and Texas A&M technical experts.
Assistance was also provided to improve the management and leadership of pyrethrum cooperatives. In particular, women pyrethrum farmers have been encouraged to participate in the management of cooperatives, affording them equal access to decision-making and profit sharing. Maria Nyirambonizanye, 40, is a member of a group of 82 women pyrethrum farmers that were organized by RPP to form a savings group. Since joining the savings group, she reports that her family finances have improved significantly. “I do not struggle anymore wondering where school fees are going to come from,” said Nyirambonizanye.
USAID’s alliance with SC Johnson is an example of a public-private partnership, which leverages market-based solutions to advance development objectives. The partnership helped Rwandan farmers to increase the production and quality of pyrethrum to sell on the marketplace. “A public-private partnership like this one with SC Johnson is a great example of how aligning USAID’s goals with business interests can produce remarkable development outcomes,” said Peter A. Malnak, USAID/Rwanda Mission Director.
A closing ceremony for RPP was held on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at the Serena Hotel where stakeholders and partners were invited to celebrate the project’s accomplishments in Rwanda.