Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) wants the National and Meru County Governments through the Ministry of Agriculture to include its members in the Committee tasked to seek new Miraa markets, especially in Djibouti.
Addressing the media in Meru town, Nyamita Chairperson, Miriti Ngozi, said the Committee as currently constituted, may not help much as it does not include people with experience in Miraa business in such a country.
He said the Association had members who could trace Miraa Businessmen who traded in Djibouti and this could help reconnect them to the Kenyan produce.
“Miraa business is very tricky considering that some people term it as a drug. Therefore, it is very challenging to go to people who have never used it and convince them to start using,” said Mr Miriti, adding that the old users who consumed the Khat will be the ones to recruit others.
He assured the Government that farmers were ready to wait for the market to grow, however, long it would take.
“The most important thing is to secure the market and then we shall come up with ways to ensure it grows to consume a sizeable percentage of our produce,” Mr Miriti said.
Miriti at the same time advised farmers to use their proceeds wisely considering that there were no clear timelines on when the market will be secured and on the other hand the hopes of regaining the Somalia market were dwindling.
“We have no hopes to get back the Somalia market and therefore we should try to save the little we are getting for the sake of our children’s future,” Miriti said.
At the beginning of last month, Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary (CS), Betty Maina, announced that the Government was exploring new options for Miraa produce after running into problems with Somalia, a key market in the region.
She was speaking during the launch of Meru County Micro and Small Enterprises Post Covid-19 Recovery Strategy, where she announced that the Kenyan Government is working closely with the Djibouti Government which might be the next country to allow Miraa imports from Kenya.
She added that of urgency will be establishing a Miraa Value addition chain, where the crop can be processed instead of selling the perishable raw produce.
Industrialization and Trade Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), David Osiany, who accompanied the CS also noted that after they successfully secured the Djibouti market, they would also move to Mozambique and assured the farmers that the crop will get back to the international market soon.
By Dickson Mwiti