Miraa dealers in Maua city. PHOTO PHOTO | NMGMiraa traders have expressed optimism that the regime change in Somalia on Sunday will revive trade ties with Kenya and save khat’s dwindling fortunes. Somalia closed access to its market for Kenya in 2020 following a political downturn.
The ban led to a loss of more than 50 tons of Kenyan khat worth more than 20 million sh. a day. The return of former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was re-elected to office on Sunday night after an intense battle with incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, has raised optimism for a resumption of normalcy in relations with Somalia. has been voted out.
Relations between Kenya and Somalia deteriorated during his reign. We hope that the dialogue channels will reopen under President Mohamud, “said Kimathi Munjuri, President of the Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita).
Somalia currently allows Ethiopia to export its khat to the country, locking Kenya out in an agreement where Mogadishu sells its fish to Addis Ababa. Munjuri accused the Kenyan government of abusing the relationship between the two neighbors.
“The next government should apply a better strategy that will not cost us business.
We should also separate diplomatic ranks from trade,” he said. Furthermore, the Nyamita chairman said traders were ready to negotiate with the Somali government to secure business privately.
He noted that the loss of the market had cost the country and the miraa farmers billions of shillings, leading to serious socio-economic consequences.
While acknowledging that Kenyan khat has been smuggled to Somalia through the sea, he called on the government to speed up negotiations with other countries to open up new markets, including DR Congo and Somaliland.