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New team formed to promote miraa trade

By Pkemoi Ng’enoh | October 28th 2021

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The government has formed a team to spearhead the marketing of miraa.

Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday said the team made up of officials from the national and county governments will promote the produce within and outside the country.

It is also mandated to handle the challenges plaguing miraa farmers, and will take over the implementation of the report by the Task Force on the Development of the Miraa Industry.

Matiang’i also pledged to liaise with the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) so that miraa traders and farmers in Meru and Embu are not harassed.

“We now need institutional alignment and regulatory harmony to promote the miraa trade, which is the mainstay of the economy of Meru and its environs,” said Matiang’i.

“Nacada works under my ministry and I will speak to them to revise their positions and stop harassing miraa traders and farmers.”

He was speaking during the opening of the National Miraa Scientific Conference at the University on Nairobi organised by the Meru County and the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i. [File, Standard]

The conference, which ends today, is discussing latest scientific research on miraa, challenges facing the sector and ways to improve its quality.

Chaos in management

Leaders from the miraa growing region, among them the host Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, blamed some agencies and regulatory bodies preaching against the plant.

The CS said in many cases in the public sector, challenges are as a result of chaos in management of public policies where one hand does not know what the other is doing.

“Effective now, we are going to make intergovernmental standing committee between Meru County and inter-ministerial committee on miraa so that we can work on these issues of miraa in a much-coordinated manner,” he added.

“In the next two or three years, we should conclude the argument on the classification of miraa. The focus now should shift towards supporting miraa farmers and traders access more markets.”

Improve infrastructure

He said recommendations at the end of the conference will be domesticated in the inter-ministerial committee.

Governor Kiraitu Murungi (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga during a past event in Meru. [File, Standard]

The stakeholders were told that the government is committed to improving infrastructure to support the miraa industry.

Kiraitu termed the conference timely, citing recent research that established that miraa in not a drug but a stimulant. 

Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said talks were on to open new markets in the DRC, Djibouti, Mozambique, Yemen and Israel, among other countries.

Munya urged farmers and traders to diversify miraa products through value addition and innovation.

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