The crackdown on rogue air operators using passenger planes to ferry cargo has hit the miraa industry hard.
Some traders are unable to transport miraa to the lucrative Somali market and are now stuck with huge quantities of the stimulant.
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) last month suspended operations of two airlines after they violated the terms of their licence by using planes designed to carry passengers to ferry cargo. Consequently, the Transport Ministry constituted a team to investigate the two carriers as well as other airlines.
The ministry warned that any operator found flouting the terms of their licences risked having them revoked.
Miraa traders say the crackdown has adversely affected their business, with most operators grounding their aircraft for fear of being implicated in the malpractice.
According to officials of Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita), exports to Somalia have dipped from an average of between 60 tonnes and 70 tonnes daily to less than 40 tonnes. The association’s chairman Kimathi Munjuri said yesterday a consignment of 30 tonnes of the stimulant had so far withered as only two aircraft are operational on the Somalia route.
“It has been a horrible season for our industry. Any further losses will be almost difficult to absorb,” Mr Munjuri told The Standard.