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SC Johnson has extended its partnership with Rwandan farmers to boost the supply of natural insecticide pyrethrum for its pest control products.
The new partnership has been extended by three years, following the success of an initial 28–month programme. It aims to increase the production and the quality of pyrethrum, as well as expand the co-operative organisations that the farmers rely on to market the crops.
Pyrethrum is an insecticide extracted from the dried flower heads of chrysanthemums, which SC Johnson - the owner of brands including Glade Pledge and Mr Muscle - uses in its consumer insecticide products.
Along with the US Agency for International Development and the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, SC Johnson has created the Rwanda Pyrethrum Program, a Global Development Alliance public-private partnership designed to help Rwanda pyrethrum farmers boost incomes while creating an environmentally and economically sustainable raw materials source.
Under the next phase of the programme, new and current producers will have access to best practices, as well as the results of research and development in soil fertility management, improved weeding techniques and pest management protocol. The Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), the Ministry of Agriculture’s research arm, will help with the research.
Improvements to post-harvest handling, storage and infrastructure will also be included.
The next phase of the programme will also focus on promoting participation of female farmers with the development of a women-run waste composting operation, which can supply compost for pyrethrum, as well as selling it more widely.
SC Johnson chairman and chief executive Fisk Johnson said the company was committed to making life better for families around the world. “This initiative is an example of the value of partnerships that help drive local economic growth while creating sustainable crops like pyrethrum that are purchased by companies like SC Johnson,” he said.
The pyrethrum project originally started in 2009 to help farmers with drying the pyrethrum, which is a crucial part of the extraction process needed for a consistent supply. Since then, declining crop yields have been reversed and dry flower production has tripled.
Jean Claude Kayisinga, project director of the Rwanda Pyrethrum Program, said: “By focusing on best practices in farming as well as in co-operative management, we’ll build capacity and strengthen active and strategic partnerships within the Rwanda private and public sectors and ultimately strengthen the pyrethrum value chain.”