The Foreign Affairs ministry must move with speed and engage the Somalia over blockade of miraa imports from Kenya.
Hope of resumption of the trade in the biggest market came tumbling after Somalia exempted miraa from cargo allowed into the country after international flights resumed on August 3.
Somalia is demanding government-to-government talks after it snubbed a delegation of traders and officials from Kenya crops regulator — Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).
Kenya, through the Foreign Affairs ministry, has an obligation to engage with Somali now that Miraa is regarded a cash crop.
The Kenyan government has in the past pledged to support the growers of miraa after it was banned in much of Europe, the US and Canada.
Farmers, traders and logistics firms that hinge their survival on the Somalia market must be protected from collapse.
The situation is especially grave in Meru, the heartland of miraa farming in Kenya.
Kenya exports about 50 tonnes of miraa to Somalia daily at its peak, according to Kenya’s largest khat trade association.
Miraa is sold to Somalia — which is mostly too hot and dry to grow the water-intensive crop — making Kenyan growers around Sh40 million a day.
According to data from the Ministry of Finance in Somalia, miraa was the third largest local revenue earner for the country last year at $16.6 million (Sh1.79 billion) in import tax.
The figures illustrating the earnings power of Miraa, underlining the need for Kenya to engage Somalia.
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