Kenya to Ink New Miraa Deal with Somalia

A picture of Yokohama Star cargo ship docked at the Port of Mombasa.

Kenya is scheduled to sign a new miraa deal with Somalia next month in an effort to strengthen economic ties and increase its presence in the lucrative Mogadishu market.

This news coincides with Kenya's ongoing efforts to revive its miraa trade with Somalia following the lifting of a two-year ban in late 2022.

Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mithika Linturi, made the announcement and disclosed that the agreement will be finalised on May 8. The objective of this agreement is to guarantee consistent economic gains and offer a legal structure for the trade of khat between the two nations.

Linturi emphasised the importance of miraa to Meru's economy, highlighting how much it contributes to the livelihoods of a large number of the county's citizens.

His remarks were made during a solemn occasion at Thamare Primary School in Igembe Central Sub-county, where he attended the burial of the two daughters of Meru County's Deputy Speaker and Njia Ward member of the County Assembly, Ali Mwenda.

A person holding several bunches of Miraa
A person holding several bunches of Miraa

Kenya's exports to Somalia have witnessed a remarkable surge, nearly doubling in the first half of 2023 following the resumption of miraa exports to the Horn of Africa nation.

Recent data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) indicates that Kenya exported goods worth a record Ksh1.4 billion to Somalia in the first six months of 2023, marking a 76 percent growth from the previous year.

This resurgence in trade comes after Mogadishu lifted a two-year ban on miraa imports from Nairobi, following negotiations between former President Uhuru Kenyatta and newly elected Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

The volume of miraa exports to Somalia has since increased significantly, reaching 50 tonnes daily.

Last year, Kenya and Somalia reached an agreement to expand the volumes of miraa exported to Somalia, providing opportunities for local farmers to capitalize on the thriving market in the Horn of Africa nation.

Despite challenges and competition, including reported complaints from Ethiopia regarding Kenya's dominance in the Somali khat market, both countries have moved to enhance bilateral ties.

In August, a bilateral Air Service Agreement was signed to facilitate passenger and cargo flights between Kenya and Somalia, further bolstering trade relations.

Linturi's announcement was met with support from various dignitaries, including Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Kathuri Murungi, former Meru County Governor Peter Munya, and Igembe Central Member of Parliament, Dan Kiili, among others.

He assured residents of the government's commitment to supporting the miraa industry and safeguarding their interests.

Murungi, the Meru County Senator and Deputy Speaker of the Senate, called upon the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) to endorse miraa as a viable cash crop

This endorsement, he argued, would benefit residents who heavily rely on miraa for their livelihoods.

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi during a meeting at Kilimo House on Tuesday April 25, 2023
Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi during a meeting at Kilimo House on Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Mithika Linturi