Somalia and Kenya have reached a deal to allow Miraa importation to the former after a two-year ban.
It happens a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta attended the inauguration ceremony of newly elected Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Thursday.
On Friday, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said they are finalizing on the paperwork before they can resume the billion shilling business.
“While we are still doing the paperwork, this country is also negotiating for access to Kenya’s fresh fish market. All the negotiations are complete,” said CS Munya.
Somalia suspended miraa imports from Kenya on March 19, 2020, citing COVID-19 restrictions.
It was, however, never lifted following a serious diplomatic spat that befell two nations over a maritime border issue.
This has led to a daily loss of more than 50 tons of khat market valued at more than Ksh.20 million.
Ethiopia has been the biggest beneficiary of the erratic supply of Kenya’s miraa to Mogadishu.
The value of miraa export slumped Ksh.3.24 billion, or 21.5 percent to Ksh.11.83 billion in the 12 months ended December 2019, compared with 2018, according to data by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
Miraa For Political Mileage
Reviving the Kenya-Somalia market comes in the wake of a political hit in Kenya, especially in the vote-rich County which has 702,480 registered voters
Politicians have been using the ban as a campaign tool to woo voters, shifting the blame to the incumbent president for delaying talks with Somalia to resume miraa business.
This has been witnessed by the President’s deputy, William Ruto who is eying the presidency in the August 9, 2022 poll.
For 20 years now, Meru County has aligned itself with the ruling regime, reaping benefits in government appointments and allocation of national resources.
However, in the nine years of Kenyatta’s presidency, residents of Meru have grown sceptical, finding themselves at a crossroads.
And perhaps with the revival of this business, considering their (Meru residents) spirited love for miraa, might spell doom for Ruto, the main competitor of Azimio La Umoja One Kenya flag bearer Raila Odinga who enjoys the political blessings of the president.