The government has set up a new team to promote the sale of miraa locally and in foreign markets.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the team comprising of relevant government ministries and the County government of Meru will also work on resolving sticky issues plaguing the crop.
The intergovernmental standing committee will now take over the implementation of the report by the Task Force on the Development of the Miraa Industry.
He spoke at the launch of the National Scientific Miraa Conference jointly organized by the Meru County Government and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) at the University of Nairobi.
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“We now need institutional alignment and regulatory harmony to promote the miraa trade, which is the mainstay of the economy of Meru and its environs,” he said.
Matiangi promised to engage NACADA to review its classification of the crop that is grown in Meru and Embu counties as a ‘hard drug’ saying the label was not supported by science-based evidence.
Miraa traders have complained about NACADA crackdown against the crop and the harassment by county governments implementing the restrictions linked to the categorization.
“In the next two or three years, we should conclude the argument on the classification of miraa. The focus now should shift towards supporting miraa farmers and traders access more markets. We should stop this habit of bastardizing miraa farmers and traders.”
Trade CS Betty Maina said the government is currently exploring other markets for miraa products, and talks are ongoing with the DRC, Djibouti, Mozambique, Yemen and Israel among other countries.
To complement the diplomatic onslaught, Agriculture CS Peter Munya urged the farmers and traders to diversify miraa products through value addition and innovation.
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi said the two-day conference will consolidate research evidence of the impact of miraa on health, social and economic well-being and ultimately help in addressing the challenges that have dogged the sector for long.
*This article was written by Henry Kimoli for Uzalendo News. Email: email@example.com to submit your story. SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL