The government is finalising the protocols that will lead to a resumption of the multi-billion-shilling miraa market in Somalia following the bilateral talks between the two countries early this month that resolved the standoff.
Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya has announced that the export of khat to Somalia is set to resume on July 5, coming as a relief to thousands of miraa farmers who have in the last three years been counting losses following the closure of the Mogadishu market.
Head of Miraa, Pyrethrum and other Industrial Crops Felix Mutwiri said they are working on outstanding issues ahead of resuming Kenya’s single largest market.
“Following the bilateral meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somalia counterpart, we are now finalising on the outstanding issue as we plan to start exporting to Somalia,” he said.
However, miraa traders are concerned that the government has left them out in the ongoing talks.
“We have just been told that the market will resume on July 5, however, we are not being involved in the ongoing conversation,” said Kimathi Munjuri, chairman of Nyambene Miraa Traders Association.
Mr Munjuri said traders are set to resume the export and they are waiting for a word from the government on the strategies that have been put in place.
Traders have been relying on the local market for the last three years after Mogadishu banned the export of the stimulant following a diplomatic row between the two countries.
The move saw Kenya embark on scouting for a new market in Djibouti to save farmers who rely on the crop as their main economic mainstay.
Djibouti is getting most of its khat supply from Ethiopia, however, there is a huge deficit for the stimulant as Addis Ababa is unable to meet its total demand.
The directorate said that even with the resumption of the Somali market, they are still targeting European countries, which in 2014 banned the crop after it was classified as a drug.
“We are still keen on going back to Europe and other key markets such as Israel that have shown interest in our miraa,” said Mr Mutwiri.