Uhuru pledges to push for reopening of miraa market

Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiangí with Meru leaders at yesterday meeting to discuss miraa issues. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to have the Somali government allow in miraa exports.

Yesterday, Meru leaders met Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i at Harambee House to discuss the issue. Dr Matiang’i was representing President Kenyatta 

The delegation to Harambee House included Governor Kiraitu Murungi, Igembe North MP Maoka Maore, Buuri MP Mugambi Rindikiri, Lapsset Chairman Titus Ibui, Nyambene Miraa Farmers and Traders Association Chairman Kimathi Munjuri and Igembe Central politician James Mithika.

Traders used to export 50 tonnes of khat to Somalia daily, raking in Sh16 million daily. Miraa trading was suspended in mid-March as part of measures to contain spread of Covid-19.

According to Maore, the president could not meet them since he was scheduled to open a meeting on the Building Bridges Initiative in Naivasha.

“We had an appointment with the president over Somalia-miraa market. He directed CS Matiangí to stand in for him with firm instructions to coordinate the government agencies that will ensure we meet conditions set by the Somalia government,” said Maore, who is the National Assembly Deputy Chief Whip.

The issue of the Sh1 billion grant the president allocated to miraa development also featured prominently in the talks.

“Miraa traders raised the issue with Maore when things got out of hand following closure of the Somali market. He consulted Governor Kiraitu and we got an appointment with the president,” said Mithika.

Munjuri said they were happy the matter would be resolved. “They are giving reopening of the Somali market priority. Farmers have been suffering in the nine months that the market was closed,” he said.

Miraa farmers in Meru welcomed the development, saying they had lost millions in income.

“I used to earn between Sh70,000 and Sh120,000 monthly but now I barely make Sh10,000 after the closure of the Somali market,” said Maore Ngore, a farmer and former MCA for Ntunene.

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