Kenya: Closure of Somalia miraa market threatens economy, Governor Munya

Meru Governor Peter Munya has expressed concern over the threat by the government of Somalia to ban Miraa importation to the country.

Speaking during the 53rd Madaraka Day celebrations held at the Meru National Polytechnic, Munya said that Miraa farmers are already suffering dire economic consequences from the ban of the crop in the European market.

Munya is now appealing to the national government to use all the available diplomatic measures and any other means to ensure that the Somalia Market is not closed.

The Governor also advocated for national government to apply diplomatic pressure in a bid to ensure the Miraa markets in Europe are re-opened.

Miraa traders were dealt a blow two years ago after the UK and Netherlands imposed a ban on the trade, claiming miraa, popularly known as khat, was a class C drug.

That move jolted the khat market, resulting in a miraa supply glut that not only pushed down its prices but also the livelihoods of more than 800,000 produce growers in Meru County.

In April, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced a Ksh 1 billion budgetary allocation to cushion miraa farmers from the challenges brought about by the importation ban to European markets.

He also signed into law, a Bill that categorized miraa as a cash crop.

The Mediated Version of the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill No. 2 made minor amendments to the Crops Act to recognize miraa as a cash crop.

The Act also obligates the national government to establish mechanisms for promotion, production, distribution and marketing of Miraa as a cash crop.

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