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You let us down, Miraa farmers tell Uhuru after PM May’s visit


Monday September 3, 2018
GERALD MUTETHIA


A miraa businessman in Mombasa. Farmers are angry that the UK ban has not been lifted

Miraa farmers are shocked President Uhuru did not even ask UK Prime Minister Theresa May to lift the ban on miraa.

State House said the two leaders only agreed on repatriation of stolen money, signed a deal on security information sharing and continuing of existing free exports into the UK.

As British Home Secretary in 2013, Theresa May banned miraa imports, claiming her country could become a transit route for illegal shipments into other European countries.

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Nyambene Miraa Farmers and Traders Association chairman Kimathi Munjuri said: “We are saddened the government did not engage May on miraa markets or if it did we are yet to know. We tried to reach her for miraa ban discussion but we never succeeded. The books to be signed on new agreements were already printed.”

Unsuccessful protests

The farmers held small protests in Nairobi but Munjuri says those protests were unsuccessful because they did not know when May would land in Kenya.

Munjuri spoke yesterday at Muuga FM, a local radio station.

He said traders and farmers are suffering because the UK ban denies Kenya more than Sh1.5 billion in annual revenue.

Munjuri asked the nine Meru MPs, Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Senator Mithika Linturi to address the ban and help search for other markets.

“Our MPs and other leaders have a chance. We have not lost hope. We will seek more miraa markets and with CS Peter Munya in the Trade docket, we are hopeful he has the potential to improve the miraa markets,” he said.

Munjuri said farmers are not ready for diversification.

“We have very few miraa farms that do not have other crops like beans, nappier grass, maize and other crops. In fact, there are farms where miraa is inter-cropped with tea or coffee or both,” he said.

Munjuri said it is regrettable that many Meru MPs did not join the farmers during protests last week.



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