Uhuru condemns ban on miraa


Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta has condemned the ban on Kenyan miraa (khat) by the Netherlands.

Mr Kenyatta, who is also the TNA leader, said the decision was draconian, excessive and arbitrary. He called on the Netherlands government to rethink the decision and hold dialogue with miraa farmers because the decision affects them and millions of others.

He said miraa is a key income-earner for farmers in Meru and the Upper Eastern region, and a huge foreign exchange earner for the country.

Mr Kenyatta pledged that a Jubilee government would seek more markets for the product in the East African Community, Africa and other parts of the world to ensure farmers continue earning their livelihoods, and Kenya the foreign exchange.

 He said the January 5 decision to ban miraa trade in The Netherlands had effectively dealt a big blow to a sub-sector worth Sh1.6 billion annually. The order by the Netherlands Secretary of State for Health, Welfare and Sports also directs that traders stop stocking miraa at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.

The ban has already begun to bite. The Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) has stopped airlifting miraa to The Netherlands.