Growing Regions

Special Places to Grow a very Special Flower

 

The pyrethrum flower is a hearty perennial that thrives in interesting and challenging environments.  As a result, pyrethrum is grown commercially in some of the most interesting places in the world.  

Throughout history, pyrethrum has been grown in many places, from the Balkans to China.  During the post-World-War II era, however, for several political and economic reasons, Pyrethrum growing has flourished in East Africa and Australia. 

Pyrethrum in East Africa

English and American interests introduced pyrethrum cultivation to East Africa during World War II to replace flower production lost during fighting in China.  As a result, Kenya and Tanzania became prime growing regions. MGK licensed extraction and refining technology to the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya (“PBK”), which became a leading producer of pyrethrum in East Africa.  PBK’s headquarters and production facility is located in Nakuru, Kenya.  PBK collects flowers from growers in several regions in Kenya.

In Tanzania, in the early 1960s MGK formed a joint venture with Mitchell-Cotts, and established a pyrethrum extraction plant in Arusha, Tanzania, in the Northern part of the country, near Mount Kilimanjaro.  Tanzania ultimately consolidated the pyrethrum industry under the Tanzania Pyrethrum Board (“TPB”).  TPB moved the extraction plant to the Southern Highlands area of Tanzania, where it remains today.  In 1998 Tanzania privatized the pyrethrum sector, selling the pyrethrum operation to a private company now known as Pyrethrum Company of Tanzania (“PCT”).  In 2006 MGK invested in PCT and is its majority owner.  PCT is leading a multi-year expansion program to revitalize pyrethrum growing in the Southern Highlands as well as the Arusha region. PCT is also investing in its extraction plant in Mafinga, Tanzania, so that PCT will be able to process the expanded harvest of flowers now growing across Tanzania. 

Rwanda also began to cultivate pyrethrum and sell its extract through OPYRWA.  In 1996 the Rwandan government privatized the pyrethrum sector in Rwanda, transferring the business to SOPYRWA, a private company with its operations in Ruhengeri, Rwanda.  Rwanda has made great strides to recover from the genocide and to rebuild its pyrethrum production capacity.

Producers in East Africa succeeded in growing pyrethrum for several reasons.  The pyrethrum plant thrives at high altitudes and in volcanic soil.  There are many growing regions in East Africa with good combinations of altitude, rainfall and soil conditions.  Additionally, the people living in many of these areas are not able to grow crops to sell for cash.  Pyrethrum provides a cash crop that supplements subsistence farming.  The cash earned from pyrethrum funds school uniforms, books, supplies and other essentials. 

Pyrethrum is, therefore, a vital component to rural life in the countries and villages where pyrethrum is cultivated.  MGK sees this as an important factor in maintaining a sustainable and reliable supply of pyrethrum.  Pyrethrum also gives farmers in remote villages access to cash from a crop that is important to the developed world.  By accessing this value chain, rural African villagers become important participants in a global market.

 

Pyrethrum in Australia

Pyrethrum is also cultivated on a commercial scale in Tasmania, Australia.  Tasmania has long been an agricultural center for Australia and Asia.  In the 1980s, however, the Tasmanian government sought high-value crops to improve the standard of living of farmers living on Tasmania. This led to many years of research and trials to grow and harvest pyrethrum using the technology of mechanized farming.  Out of this program came a commercial pyrethrum industry led by Botanical Resources, Australia (“BRA”).  BRA has its headquarters in Hobart, Tasmania, and its operations, extraction and refining facility in Ulverstone, Tasmania, on the Northern coast of the island, where most of the pyrethrum farms are located.     

BRA employs the latest in agricultural technology.  On its own farms and on farms under contract with BRA, the company plants pyrethrum flowers by mechanical means.  Crop managers keep a close eye on production and advise farmers as to appropriate weed control measures and other steps necessary to protect the crop.  Starting in January of each year, BRA manages the agricultural equivalent of a major battlefield operation, coordinating a fleet of harvesters and trucks to collect and deliver the crop to its extraction facility.  As a result of its investment in modern technology, BRA has become a major supplier of pyrethrum to the world market. 

MGK has been a partner with BRA from the beginning.  MGK saw the need for diversified supplies for the world market and supported BRA’s program.  MGK is a minority owner of BRA. 

 

FAQ

Do you know what the difference is between Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids?  Click View All above or on one of the questions below to go to a page of Frequently Asked Questions. 

What are Pyrethrins?

Uses

Pyrethrins are the active ingredient in many products used in many markets such as:

Home & Garden 
Animal Health
Crop Protection 
Public Health 
Professional Pest Control 

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