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Kenya’s Miraa Trade Set for Remarkable Boost as Government Takes Bold Steps to Spur Growth!

The Kenyan government is taking steps to boost profitability in the Miraa (Khat) business by reclassifying the crop and excluding it from adverse classification by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA). This move aims to facilitate trade and improve the income of Miraa farmers. The government is determined to support the farmers and explore new markets for the cash crop. However, the decision has sparked mixed reactions among stakeholders, with some welcoming the development while others express concerns about potential cost implications. Let’s delve into the details of this significant development.

Reclassifying Miraa for Trade Enhancement: Miraa, a stimulant crop with cultural and economic significance in Kenya, has faced challenges due to its classification as a harmful substance by NACADA. The two substances found in Khat, Cathine and Cathinone, led to this classification. However, the government now aims to reclassify Miraa to facilitate its exclusion from the harmful substances list. This move seeks to enhance the trade prospects of the crop and support Miraa farmers in increasing their income.

Government Commitment and Market Exploration: Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has assured Miraa farmers of the government’s unwavering commitment to their cause. The government plans to send a delegation of farmers to explore new markets for the crop abroad. This effort aims to expand the reach of Miraa and increase its demand, ultimately benefiting the farmers.

Implementation of Miraa Levy: The publication of the Crops (Miraa) Regulations 2023 introduced the Miraa Levy, sparking diverse reactions from stakeholders in Meru County. The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) initially delayed the implementation of the levy to establish proper frameworks. However, with the successful launch of the AFA’s e-platform, the Miraa levy has been implemented. While consumers express concerns about potential price increases, traders and leaders from Miraa-growing zones have welcomed the levy, seeing it as a positive move that will boost the sub-sector.

Positive Reception and Development Prospects: The Nyambene Miraa Farmers and Traders Association (Nyamita) and Igembe Central MP Dan Kiili have expressed their support for the Miraa levy. They believe it demonstrates the national government’s commitment to developing the Miraa sub-sector. Kiili emphasizes that the levy will only affect exported Miraa, with a minimal charge of Sh3 per kilo. Farmers and traders in the industry acknowledge the importance of paying the levy, as it recognizes their role and strengthens their partnership with the government. They anticipate that the levy will enable the Miraa Directorate, under the Ministry of Agriculture, to seek new markets and introduce improved farming practices based on scientific research and proven methods.

The Kenyan government’s decision to exclude Miraa from NACADA’s harmful substances listing and the implementation of the Miraa levy demonstrate the authorities’ commitment to supporting the Miraa industry and improving the income of farmers. By exploring new markets and introducing quality standards, the government aims to boost the profitability of this cash crop. While the move has received a mixed response, stakeholders recognize the potential benefits and opportunities it can bring to the Miraa sub-sector. As the government and industry work together, the future of Miraa trade in Kenya looks promising, paving the way for enhanced growth and development.

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