Kenya preparing to finalize agreement on Khat with Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya is gearing up to officially seal a deal with Somalia for the trade of Khat, marking a significant step towards enhancing economic growth and development in the Horn of Africa region. This agreement is expected to directly benefit numerous farmers who heavily rely on this cash crop for their livelihoods.

Kenya holds a prominent position as the primary Khat (Miraa) supplier to Somalia, reaping substantial financial gains from this trade. However, challenges hindered smooth trade relations in recent times due to various political limitations imposed by both nations.

Mithika Lintur, the Agriculture Minister of Kenya, has confirmed that the signing of the miraa deal with Somalia is scheduled for May 8th, aiming to establish a structured framework for sustained economic advantages and legal compliance within the Khat trade sector.

Linturi emphasized the crucial role played by the cash crop as a vital component of Meru’s economy, significantly supporting the livelihoods of numerous county residents. Somalia remains a key market for this crop, known to thrive in the Eastern slopes of Mt. Kenya.

During his speech at Thamare Primary School in Igembe Central Sub-county, Linturi addressed the tragic loss of Deputy Speaker Ali Mwenda’s two daughters in a recent fatal accident, leaving the father severely injured. Several dignitaries, including Deputy Senate Speaker Kathuri Murungi and former Governor Peter Munya, were present at the event.

Last year, Kenya had contemplated reopening its border with Somalia to facilitate smoother trade operations, but the prevailing threats from Al-Shabaab insurgents necessitated a reevaluation of the decision until stability along the border is restored. The border closure has persisted for more than a decade.

Notably, Kenya Airways recently resumed flights to Mogadishu after a prolonged hiatus due to security concerns, underscoring efforts to bolster regional connectivity. Presidents William Ruto of Kenya and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia have engaged in direct dialogues to enhance trade ties between the two nations.


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