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Miraa traders seek Kenya MPs' intervention to restore Somalia market

Monday July 26, 2021
By Allan Kisa

Farmers do not have a single significant market for the crop outside Kenya

LOST MARKET: Miraa for sale/ Image: FILE

Miraa traders from Meru have petitioned the House to engage relevant government ministries to restore their market in Somalia.

The traders said farmers do not have a single significant market for the crop outside Kenya.

“When Somalia reopened its borders for international travel, the government permitted entry of other crops with the exclusion of miraa,” the petition said.

The petition was presented by Igembe South MP John Mwirigi on behalf of Nyambene Miraa Traders Association on July 8.

The traders said that the Ministry of Agriculture, according Section 8 of Crops Act, has the responsibility to source for markets for the crop.

“The Miraa Taskforce Implementation Technical Team identified prospective markets such as Djibouti, Mozambique, Yemen, Israel, and DRC but the matter has not been followed up,” the traders said.

They further noted that other miraa growing regions, particularly Ethiopia, are gaining comparative advantage in Somalia.

The traders want MPs to discuss ways of resolving their problems with officials from ministries of Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Transport, Interior and Foreign Affairs.

The traders said due to the declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic and subsequent closure of international borders, miraa lost its regional market, particularly in Somalia.

“Locally, a number of county governments such as Tana River, Mombasa, Lamu and Kilifi have imposed exorbitant and prohibitive levies and fees for the crop to transit through their jurisdictions or sold within their markets,” they said.

The traders added the Ministry of Agriculture has been diverting funds allocated to support the development of the crop.

They asked MPs to intervene and ensure restrictive levies imposed on miraa by counties comply with the law and are harmonised across the country.

The traders want legislators to inquire into the utilisation of funds allocated for the development of the crop during the 2019-2020 Financial Year.

In May, the traders asked the government to resolve the diplomatic row with Somalia saying they are making huge losses following the frosty relationship between the two countries.

After the UK and Netherlands ban of miraa, Somalia had been the largest market for the commodity.

Last month, Kenya lifted a ban on direct flights from Somalia ending a month feud after the suspension of air travel between the two countries.

Kenya-Somalia diplomatic relations have severed in recent months with the latter blaming Kenya of meddling in its internal political affairs.

The two countries are also feuding over a maritime boundary. The dispute is before the International Court of Justice.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)


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