Miraa farmers seek harmonised tax levied by counties

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary with a bundle of miraa. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Miraa farmers are now demanding to be taxed uniformly across all county governments.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said this can be achieved if the Miraa Regulations 2021 come into force.

Munya, speaking at a public participation forum on the Draft Crops (Miraa) Regulations 2021 at Kangeta in the miraa zone of Igembe Central on Saturday, said the regulations are meant to ensure the promotion, development and regulation of the crop for the benefit of all players in the miraa value chain.

He noted that different counties levied different rates for the cargo, and there was the need to harmonise the taxes. Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho had reduced cess.

"We will hold discussions with other governors to convince them to follow the footsteps of Joho," Munya stated.

The CS said it was his aim to have counties adopt uniform rates on miraa, as opposed to the current situation where counties were levying different charges on the stimulant.

“We want to come up with the regulations first before we escalate the search for more markets and re-opening of the closed ones,” Munya said.

At the same time, he said talks with Somalia were being handled at a diplomatic level. He said once the regulations are adopted, the next step will be to look for new markets.

The CS added that the government will also handle the issue of security for transporters, who had complained about attacks especially in the North-Eastern region.

Meru County charges Sh1,000 per a pick-up load of miraa, but some counties charge up to Sh40,000 for the cargo, a fact that has rubbed farmers, traders, transporters and other players the wrong way.

In the regulations, the Food and Agriculture Authority will be empowered to enjoin the Ministry responsible for transportation to effect an efficient, regular, safe and economical means of transporting miraa, for purposes of reducing marketing costs and maintaining quality.

Munya was accompanied by the ministry’s senior officials, including James Mutia who is in charge of the miraa directorate and Julius Kimathi, a technical advisor.

Nyambene Miraa Farmers and Traders Association Chairman Kimathi Munjuri said it was important for counties to treat miraa just like other crops.

He proposed the crop be allowed into counties at no cost, because farmers were reeling under its ban in major markets including Somalia and Europe.

"Let miraa get to the local markets freely as we look into international issues," Munjuri stated.

Igembe South politician Mithika Mwenda asked governors to support the crop because it was just like others, and was a scheduled crop.

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