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Koskei wants PBK managers vetted

14 June 2013, 17:45 Kelvin Wanjohi

Agriculture cabinet secretary Felix Koskei has directed an overhaul of the management board of the cash-strapped Pyrethrum Board of Kenya (PBK).

Koskei who hopes that the resuscitation of the sector will commence in July ruled out injection of more capital saying the sector was ailing from poor management and not lack of funding.

He said the current board will be overhauled and managers vetted afresh so as to revive the industry. He observed that despite the run down machinery at the board, PBK had the potential to re-invent itself through proper management, clearing of debts and giving incentives to farmers.

Koskei had toured the troubled PBK’s headquarters in Nakuru where he came face to face with the harsh reality of a struggling board that is constantly embroiled in wrangles with farmers over unpaid dues.

The cabinet secretary directed a team of experts to carry out an audit and prepare a report on the status of the PBK. The team is expected to give a report by June 30 with recommendation on how to revive the board.

“A team of experts will prepare a report by 30th June detailing what is ailing the sector and how the Pyrethrum industry will be revived,” said Koskei.

Koskei further pointed out that implementation of the recommendations will commence in July to ensure faster revival of the sector.

During a fact finding tour, Koskei attributed the poor performance of the flower sector to mismanagement in the last two decades, which saw unsatisfied and disillusioned farmers cancel flower delivery to the board.

pyrethrum, farmers, digging

Issac Mulagholi, the board’s chair, had a hard time trying to explain the under performance of the sector that enjoys a near-monopoly globally.

While vowing to change the fortunes of the sector as from July this year, Koskei decried the continuous underpayment of workers and farmers who supply pyrethrum flowers.

“The industry is in business and it is not the government to fund it; the role of the government is to bring in new technology and support farmers with incentives. The management will therefore have to streamline its operation and increase its production,” Koskei said.

He appealed to farmers to embark on Pyrethrum farming and start delivering to the board promising to change the managers.

“We call upon all Pyrethrum farmers across 19 Counties to start replanting the crop; the government will support them and their produce will have market,” he said.

Koskei called on the workers at the board to work hard and efficiently, saying that the transformation of the board largely depended on them.

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