|Case Studies of Neem Processing Projects Assisted by GTZ in Kenya, Dominican Republic, Thailand and Nicaragua (GTZ, 2000, 152 p.)|
|4. Case studies of small-scale semi-industrial neem processing in Kenya, Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua|
Awareness of the potential of neem has increased remarkably, in large part due to the ICIPE's Awareness Project and to the Neem Industrialisation Project. Since 1994 thousands of seedlings and viable seeds have been distributed among farmers, schools, churches, NGOs and other interested groups in Kenya. This has stimulated the establishment of numerous nurseries in Kenya and neighbouring countries. More than 650 persons from seven east African countries have been trained.
Demonstration trials have also been organised by agricultural officers of several divisions.
Neem is mainly promoted by other NGOs in addition to the ICIPE. Thus, as mentioned earlier, KIOF has been promoting the use of home-made neem products by farmers, and it is interested in promoting the available neem-based products. An agreement has been reached with Saroneem Biopesticides Ltd to make neem products available to farmers through the Muthama District Cooperative Union distribution network. NGOs play an important role in knowledge dissemination.
Two organisations, the NGO the "Kenya Neem Foundation" and the "Kenya Neem Development and Herbal Health Awareness Agency" were registered in 1997, These two organisations are promoting the neem tree in Kenya. The "Kenya Neem Foundation" has organised neem awareness meetings in several districts of Coast Province, Nyanza Province, Western Province and Rift Valley Province. Mr Anthony Kithini Mwongo of the second organisation conducts seminars to sensitise people to the potential of the neem tree in rural development and income generation. Another NGO, "Details, Kenya", working in development and training through appropriate initiatives for local set-ups, is creating awareness through seminars. This NGO is seeking funds in order to boost propagation of the tree, to conduct demonstration trials, and to create awareness of the multiple uses of the neem tree, in the areas surrounding the lakes Bogoria and Baringo.
Other IPM projects in the region have also incorporated neem-based pesticides in their programmes. Thus, some projects have purchased neem products from ICIPE/Saroneem Biopesticides Ltd for testing purposes. These projects include the peri-urban vegetable IPM Project in Kenya, (developed the by the National Resources Institute (NRI) and the CABI African Regional Centre), the Tanzanian-German IPM Project and the GTZ "Urban Vegetable Promotion Project" in Tanzania.
The industrial and the cottage industry sectors in Kenya have also shown interest in the production of neem-based pesticides. This has included interest from local businessmen in starting production of neem-based pesticides. Some of them have visited the neem factory at ICIPE, but so far no one has started.
Several companies producing neem-based pesticides, mainly from India, but also the EU, have shown interest in the Kenyan market. They have visited and given samples for testing to several flower and vegetable growers. One Indian product, "Godrej Achook" has been granted temporary registration by the PCPB for horticultural use in Kenya.
Research on the use of neem products in horticulture has gone a step further. It has concentrated on studies of the suitability of neem products in IPM programmes for the major pests. Thus, studies on the effect of neem products on parasitoids of leaf miners in tomatoes were conducted as part of a PhD thesis at ICIPE. Studies on the effects of neem products on natural enemies of the main pest of cabbage, namely the diamond-back moth and aphids were conducted by a Kenyatta University student for a master's degree funded by the GTZ-IPMH Project. Similarly, the effects of neem products on the parasitoids of the diamond-back moth are being studied by a PhD student at ICIPE.
Research on the effects of neem products in malaria control is going on at ICIPE. The use of neem oil as a larvicide for mosquito control is being studied in the laboratory and field trials are planned for the near future. Preliminary trials on the treatment of bednets with neem products have also been conducted.
Studies on the use of neem products for control of tick and tick-related diseases have continued, but the project on tick management has finished. A proposal for the integrated management of ticks with neem as one of the components has been prepared by ICIPE.
Saroc Ltd/Saroneem Biopesticides Ltd.
Saroneem Biopesticides Ltd is continuing production of neem-based pesticides. However, the present financial situation of the company merely allows it to pay for the raw material to be purchased next year and the processing into formulated products. There is not enough capital for further development of products or to conduct further trials on efficacy. As a consequence the sales increase very slowly, mainly through personal activity. Based on the efficacy trials performed in Kenya and results of trials conducted in Uganda, registration for use of neem-based pesticides in Uganda was granted early this year.
The company is working on the formulation of new neem-based products: an alcoholic extract and a formulation containing 20% pyrethrum. The alcoholic extract is a formulation suitable for use in large-scale applications. The neem-pyrethrum formulation is aimed at flower production. The available neem products are not suitable for pest management on flowers due to the slow action of the neem products and to the extremely low tolerance to pest damage in produce for export.
The new company Saroneem Biopesticides Ltd has been registered and started to operate in January 2000. Besides taking over the production and marketing of neem products in the region, this company will deal with other natural pesticides such as microbial pesticides.
Currently, the main buyers of neem-based products are large-scale horticultural producers. Due to the relatively high price of neem, these products are mainly used for the management of pests that have become resistant or are difficult to manage with conventional insecticides such as the diamond-back moth and leaf miners. As already mentioned, horticultural production for export is facing difficult times due to the maximum residue restrictions in the European market. Neem could have a role as an alternative to synthetic pesticides, depending on its acceptance, e.g. registration for use in horticulture in Europe. According to some vegetable and flower producers exporting to the UK, some supermarkets accept produce treated with neem products during its production.
Small-scale producers constitute a large potential market, but this potential has not yet been exploited due to economic constraints as mentioned above.
Neem-based pesticides are also in demand, though on a small scale, for organic production of vegetables and cotton. Thus, a GTZ-supported group of cotton farmers in Llama has purchased Neemros® for further distribution to its members. Few growers are involved in the production of organic vegetables, which are offered locally targeting the expatriate market. For instance, the neem products have been tested in a farm in Limuru, where organic vegetables are produced on a small scale and sold in Nairobi. The Kenya Institute of Organic Farming is also promoting the use of neem and contacts have been made with Saroneem Biopesticides Ltd, but activities have not yet started.
Another organisation involved in organic farming is Farmers Own Ltd, a subsidiary of the Kenyan/British governmental organisation, Association for Better Land Husbandry (ABLE). This association is aiming at poverty alleviation by establishing market-driven systems, rehabilitation of the environment and marketing of health foods. Currently, they have pilot projects in several districts in Western Kenya and in the Central Province. ABLE is promoting the development of Organic and Conservation Supreme Standards and Certification Schemes for Farmers Own Business in Kenya, in order to enable farmers to produce for the local organic market as well as for export (The Analyst, December 1999).
A lot of expectations have been created with both the Neem Awareness Project and the Industrialisation Project. Nurseries have been established and a lot of neem seedlings have been planted. It is now important to create a market for the seeds and other neem products which could be available in the near future.
From the experience in Kenya it is clear that when planning a project like this, aspects such as economy of production, marketing strategies and market potential should be investigated. A final evaluation and follow-up after the completion of the project are desirable to monitor the transition from a subsidised activity to a fully independent viable industry.
It should also be borne in mind that neem processing is prone to a double risk concerning the climatic conditions: in the harvesting year the weather should be appropriate to produce sufficient neem fruits (which might be affected by too much rain, for example the effects of "El Nino"). For selling the produce any severe draught, as in 2000, will effect the sales of the products, as much fewer vegetables, ornamentals and fruits are produced. Such considerable climatic risks must be covered by a stock of capital or else the small enterprises will go to the wall. This is especially true since interest rates in developing countries often fluctuate considerably.