Top Stories / Counties
Wednesday, 07 Sep 2016 17:44 EAT
Angry miraa farmers, traders and exporters took to the streets of Maua in Meru County this morning to protest the recent decision by the Somali government to ban cargo planes carrying the commodity into their country.
The protests by the miraa industry stakeholders however took a local political dimension when the protesters blamed the ban on Meru Governor Peter Munya, who recently traveled to Hargesia, Somalia to negotiate soft rules for miraa traders and exporters.
While the governor's trip was not well known, Somalia's Ambassador to Kenya Gamal Hassan on Tuesday said Mr Munya visited Hargeisa in July to negotiate soft rules for miraa traders but ended up piling political pressure on the government, which angered the Somali government and led to their ban of the commodity's importation.
The protesters who were led by Ms Doresen Kagwiria, a nominated Member of the County Assembly appealed to the county government to compensate them for losses they claimed they have incurred since the ban took effect last Tuesday.
Over five cargo planes carrying miraa have been stuck in Nairobi with the miraa being estimated to be worth over Sh60 million.
The traders have called on the national government to intervene and end the deadlock since miraa is the only cash crop they grow in the area and many depend on it to educate their children.
Kenya has been relying on Somali for the export of the commodity after European countries banned the export of Miraa in June 2014 which was major setback to miraa farmers which forced some of them to uproot the plants and engage in farming of other crops.
Kenya exports 540 cargo planes of miraa to Somali every month.
The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press