Uncertainty as Meru leaders differ on licensing miraa trade

By John Majau

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi has opposed new regulations by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Peter Munya on khat farming and trading.

The regulations aim at streamlining the produce, commonly known as  miraa, for standardization and acceptance in international markets.

The governor said he was not consulted before the regulations were laid down.

He spoke at Kaaga Primary School in Meru town when he met farmers during a consultation with cooperatives across the county.

“We know that agriculture is devolved; they should have consulted me as the governor,” Kiraitu said.

He said the regulations will do more harm than good to miraa farmers and traders.

“You must have a licence if you have a miraa nursery. To grow miraa you must have a licence. To sell miraa you must be licensed as a trader. To export miraa you must also be licensed as an exporter,” Kiraitu lamented.

The governor said the many licences required will cut farmers profits and hence are unacceptable.

He even threatened to seek court arbitration to reverse the regulations.

He, however, lauded the national government for solving the diplomatic row with Somalia in a bid to ensure miraa is sold in the Horn of Africa.

The county boss urged the national government to speed up the bilateral agreement so that the crop can have the biggest market since the ban in United Kingdom.

Kenya is close to unlocking the Somalia market with an agreement expected to be signed early July.

Munya said discussions between the two countries have entered the home stretch with a deal expected in two weeks.

“The agreement will be signed in Nairobi on July 5,” he said.

County Assembly Minority Leader Ayub Bundi said Kiraitu is against the regulations so that miraa farmers do not benefit.

Bundi, who is also the Abothuguchi Central MCA, said opposing such regulations might hinder the sale of miraa in Somalia.

“He is against the regulations so that miraa farmers fail to sell their produce in Somalia and Munya would be deemed to have failed,” he said.

The regulations were published last week after approval by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.


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