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Ball starts rolling for exportation of miraa to Somalia

Somalia had imposed a two-year ban on importation of miraa from Kenya

A khat farmer hawks his khat harvest at a local open air market at Maua, in Meru county on September 9, 2016 in Kenya's central province. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images)

President Uhuru Kenyatta has returned from attending the inauguration of Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud with gifts for khat (miraa) farmers and exporters.

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The announcement was communicated by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya who revealed, a formal agreement between the two countries is in the offing with farmers beseeched to be a bit patient.

“We want to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for the diplomatic negotiations he has been carrying out quietly. The ban had greatly affected the economy of Mt Kenya East and the farmers’ earnings,” he said.

CS Munya speaking during a two-day tour of farmers in Tigania West gave a timeline of when the exportation of the priced commodity will start. "The market is set to open officially in the next two weeks, what is currently ongoing at the moment is discussion on the logistics and finalisation of the nitty-gritty."

According to the CS, the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) which in simpler terms is a -treaty signed between countries to allow international commercial air transport services between territories- is expected to be signed by Tuesday, June 14.

Once the BASAs have been signed, direct flights are expected to resume from Isiolo Airport to Aden Adde International Airport in Somalia for the first time since 2020.

The exportation had initially been banned due to the spread of COVID-19, however, when international air travel resumed, Somalia announced a continuation of the ban, with Former President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed alias Farmaajo opting to import miraa from Ethiopia instead.

Concluding his statement, CS Munya highlighted how vital Somalia was to miraa farmers, reiterating that Mogadishu is so lucrative as it serves as "the launch pad for cargo transit to the Horn of Africa, Middle East and other countries."

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