By John Majau
Kenya exported miraa (khat) worth Sh221 million in four days since the recent resumption of the Somalian market highlighting the significant role that the commodity is playing in the economy.
Mr Mutwiri said that 19 traders out of the 22 that had applied for export permits had been cleared even as more traders sought clearance to get the licences.
“We have so far exported 81.4 tonnes in the last four days and we expect the volumes to grow in the next coming days as more people are cleared to ship out the commodity,” he said.
The directorate started issuing export licences to Miraa traders last week after they were cleared under the new regulations.
Nyambene Miraa Trade Association (Nyamita) chairman Kimathi Munjuri said there is enough crop in the farms to meet the market.
“We have a lot of miraa right now in the farms and we can meet the market demand in Somalia,” said Mr Munjuri.
Traders have been relying on the local market in the last three years after Khartoum banned export of the crop following a diplomatic row between the two countries.
The move saw Kenya embark on scouting for a new market in Djibouti to save farmers who rely on the crop as their main economic mainstay.
A kilo of miraa to Somalia is currently going for $23 (Sh2,734) which is a tad lower when compared with the $25 (Sh2,972) that it fetched before the ban.
Kenya will now face competition at the market from Ethiopia which has been supplying the market with miraa after Nairobi was locked out.
The directorate said that even with the resumption of the Somalia market exports, they are still targeting European countries which banned the crop in 2014 after it was classified as a drug.