SC Johnson and Partners Help Rwanda Pyrethrum Farmers Boost Incomes, Build Sustainable Supply

Monday, August 19, 2013

RACINE, Wis., Aug. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Today, SC Johnson, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture announced the Rwanda Pyrethrum Program, a Global Development Alliance (GDA) public-private partnership designed to help Rwanda pyrethrum farmers boost incomes while creating an environmentally and economically sustainable raw materials source. The three-year extension of the initial 28-month program focuses on increasing both production and quality of pyrethrum and on strengthening and expanding the capacity of the cooperative organizations that the farmers rely on to market their crops.

“SC Johnson is committed to making life better for families around the world, and 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,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “We’re thrilled to move into the next phase of this very important partnership and to continue this mutually beneficial work.”

Pyrethrum, or py, is a fast-acting and highly-effective insecticide extracted from the dried flower heads of chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium). As the world’s leading manufacturer of insect control products, SC Johnson needs a consistent supply of py for some of its well-known consumer insecticide products such as Raid® and Baygon®.

The HistoryThe pyrethrum project began in 2009 following a farmer’s request for assistance in drying pyrethrum flowers during a November 2007 growers’ town hall meeting. Identifying the need for assistance with proper drying was crucial as the drying stage of the pyrethrum extraction process is a key challenge to consistent supply; the first phase of the project therefore focused on enhancing the collection, drying and transportation of higher quality pyrethrum flowers.

Several years into the partnership, four years of declining crop yields have been reversed and production has exceeded project objectives. The volume of dry flower production has nearly tripled since the project’s inception.

“The partnership between SC Johnson, The Borlaug Institute and USAID has yielded impressive results so far,” said Peter Malnak, USAID’s Mission Director for Rwanda. “We look forward to continuing the work of strengthening farmers and farmers’ organizations, empowering women, and fostering economic growth through the sustainable and responsible development of Rwanda’s pyrethrum industry.”

The Next Phase: Expanding Production, Improving QualityThe next phase of the project will emphasize increasing pyrethrum quality and production. New and current producers will have access to best practices as well as the results of research and development being conducted in areas such as soil fertility management, improved weeding techniques and pest management protocol. The Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), the Ministry of Agriculture’s research arm, will assist with these research efforts. Additionally, improvements to post-harvest handling, storage and infrastructure will be made.

Empowering female farmers will also be an area of emphasis, including promoting their participation in the development of cooperatives. The future work plan includes development of a women-run waste composting enterprise to increase women’s income and improve soil quality, thus also increasing the productivity of the pyrethrum fields. The raw material for this enterprise will be organic waste from a nearby marketplace. The compost produced will be available for purchase through the cooperatives and can be applied to farmers’ pyrethrum but also may be used on home gardens and other horticultural crops for either consumption or sale. Additionally, all cooperatives will be strengthened with improved communication and enhanced operational and financial management.

A number of local organizations from both the public and private sectors will also continue to play a role in the project, and will assist with staffing, research and development and communication support — all of which will contribute to the long term success of the project.

“By focusing on best practices in farming as well as in cooperative 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,” said Jean Claude Kayisinga, Project Director – Rwanda Pyrethrum Program.

Working Toward the Greater GoodSC Johnson is committed to the greater good and to improving the lives of families in communities around the world. The company has been exploring how to create successful Base of the Pyramid (BoP) programs since 2003. Additional programs include:

— A pilot project in rural Ghana called WOW was designed to build a profitable and scalable business model for low-income rural consumers. The project also drives the adoption of SC Johnson mosquito repellents and insecticides, and in doing so, aims to reduce the transmission of malaria. SC Johnson products in refillable formats are provided as part of a club membership for homemakers. In addition to the products, the club memberships include loyalty rewards, fun, interactive social events and regular coaching sessions on homecare best practices (including malaria education) and the proper use of SC Johnson products.

— In 2006, the company launched Community Cleaning Services (CCS) with local partners, and the program is a Kenyan social enterprise dedicated to improving urban sanitation for families living at the base of the economic pyramid. This involved creating entrepreneurial opportunities for youth from low-income communities using a micro-franchise model for cleaning shared public and private toilet facilities. CCS has since transitioned to an independent non-profit entity.

— Additionally, the company is committed to giving back to the communities in which it does business. SC Johnson has granted more than $248 million to local and global organizations since 2000.

Learn more about SC Johnson’s commitment to the communities in which it conducts business, including grant opportunities available from the company, by visiting

Source: Press Release (link opens in a new window)