Governors refuse rules to govern miraa industry
By Allan Kisia, Friday September 22, 2023
Ken Mwendia is responsible for organizing and arranging the Allele Miraa in Maua town. Image: Gerald Mutethia
Governors have expressed their opposition to the state-backed regulations aimed at overseeing the miraa business, which is worth billions of shillings.
The Council of Governors, in its submission to the Senate Committee on Delegated Legislation, highlighted several reasons for rejecting the Crops (Miraa) Regulations, 2023.
The Committee of Agriculture, Livestock, and Cooperatives of the Council of Governors requested that the regulations be rejected, as they believed their perspectives had not been considered in the guidelines.
During the meeting, Kizito Wangalwa, representing the Council of Governors, stated, “We were not consulted in the process of formulating these regulations, despite being a key stakeholder in the miraa business.”
Wangalwa argued that the registration of miraa grower institutions and small-scale farmer associations should not be the responsibility of the Agriculture and Food Authority, but rather the Council of Governors, as agriculture is a devolved function.
Furthermore, Wangalwa suggested that the registration of miraa aggregators and transporters should also occur at the county level, not with the AFA. He added, “Licensing of miraa vendors should also be done by counties, as trade is also devolved. Counties should handle the appointment of inspectors as well.”
Willis Audi, the acting director-general of the AFA, stated that the Office of the Attorney General had advised them to align the regulations with the Crop Act of 2013. However, he admitted that they did not directly consult with the governors during the formulation of the regulations.
Senator Dan Maanzo of Makueni expressed concerns about the introduction of new levies in the regulations, which had led farmers to question the profitability of miraa farming. He posed the question, “Was there public participation? Were the governors involved in this process?”
The Crops (Miraa) Regulations, 2023, which provide the regulatory framework for the miraa subsector in Kenya, were published on April 5, 2023.
The miraa subsector has shown significant improvement over the past year, especially with the reopening of the Somalia market in July 2022.