HUGE LOSSES: Nyambene Miraa Traders association chairman Kimathi Munjuri
Image: Dennis Dibondo
Miraa farmers from Meru have 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 has been the largest market for the commodity.
Nyambene Miraa Traders Association chairman Kimathi Munjuri said traders should avoid rumours going round that Miraa trading in Somalia has resumed.
He said last week farmers made huge losses after the rumour had it that Somalia and Kenya will resume their diplomatic ties, therefore allowing miraa trade.
“On Sunday about 130 sacks of miraa which is about 12 tonnes were transported by vans and loaded in six planes but it was not allowed to go to Somalia and farmers incurred a loss of about Sh5 million,” Munjuri said.
He spoke at a press conference at a Meru town hotel on Monday.
Munjuri who was accompanied by Nyamita coordinator Jacob Miriti and businessman Dan Kiili, said miraa farmers should be involved in the talks to resolve the row.
“We are counting losses and our leaders have failed to help us resolve our challenges,” Munjuri said.
He said the country continues to receive miraa from other countries like Ethiopia.
“The government should move in with speed and ensure we get back to Somalia trade as it is currently our biggest market,” he said.
Munjuri said despite miraa being gazetted as a crop, many counties have listed it as a drug and banned its use.
“We cannot expect to sell to other countries yet it’s being burnt in our own country against the law,” Munjuri said.
Dan Kiili said the farmers should not be duped to pluck their miraa as the market is yet to open although there are negotiations ongoing.
Farmers are estimated to lose Sh5 billion monthly since the ban.
1947- The year in which miraa selling was introduced by an Arab trader
500,000-Population in Kenya that depend on miraa farming
Sh500,000-The amount made as profit.
2013-The year when the Netherlands, one of the biggest markets for miraa, banned the commodity.
June 24, 2014- The year in which the UK banned miraa