Ministries to work with Meru County to grow miraa markets
The Ministry of Interior on Wednesday announced that the government has set up a new team to promote the sale of miraa locally and in foreign markets.
According to Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i, the new team, which will comprise of relevant government ministries and the county government of Meru, will also work on resolving sticky issues plaguing the crop.
Speaking at the launch of the National Scientific Miraa Conference, Dr. Fred Matiangi said: “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.”
In addition, the Interior CS promised to engage NACADA on the classification of miraa as a hard drug, adding that the label was not supported by science-based evidence.
Dr. Matiangi further added that because of the categorization of miraa as a hard drug, miraa traders have complained about NACADA crackdown and the harassment by county governments implementing restrictions.
“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,” CS Matiang’i said.
On the other hand, Trade Cabinet Secretary, Betty Maina announced that 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.
For the Ministry of Agriculture, CS Peter Munya has urged the farmers and traders to diversify miraa products through value addition and innovation.
Representing the people of Meru County, Governor Kiraitu Murungi further added that 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.