Miraa traders to get Somalia export permits from Friday

Vendors sell Miraa at Hola centre in Tana River County. PHOTO | STEPHEN ODUOR | NMG

The regulator will start issuing export licences to miraa traders today (Friday) under the new regulations as Kenya moves closer to re-entering the Somali market after a three-year hiatus.

An official from Miraa Pyrethrum and other Industrial Crops said they have received at least 20 applications from interested exporters and have started processing them.

The sale of miraa to the Somali market was to resume on July 5. However, it was delayed by a lack of export certificates as traders had to comply with the new regulations, which require them to have new permits before shipping the stimulant out of the country.

“We have registered exporters who had applied for licences and informed them to follow up for facilitation of their licences,” said the official.

Nyambene Miraa Trade Association (Nyamita) chairman Kimathi Munjuri said while they were all set for business, the Agricultural and Food Authority (AFA) was yet to clear the exporters.

We have exporters who have applied for the export licences, but the AFA is yet to issue them. We need them urgently because we cannot export without following the regulations,” he said.

According to the Crops (Miraa) (Amendment) Regulations 2022, exporters must be registered and licensed by the AFA. Exporters are also required to get an export permit for every consignment.

Anyone who exports miraa without registration and a licence is liable for a sentence of up to three years or a fine of up to Sh5 million.

Traders have been relying on the local market in the last three years after Khartoum 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 economic mainstay.

Djibouti is getting most of its khat supply from Ethiopia. However, there is a huge deficit for the stimulant because Addis Ababa cannot meet the country’s 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 not only to Europe but also to Israel, DRC and Djibouti, which have shown interest in our miraa,” said the regulator.

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