Kenya closer to unlocking Djibouti miraa market


Kenya closer to unlocking Djibouti miraa market

A miraa trader displays his crop. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Djibouti’s Trade minister will lead a delegation to Nairobi this month to discuss the khat (miraa) market that Kenya has been eyeing after Somalia closed access of the stimulant to Mogadishu.

Kenya is targeting to export at least 20 tonnes of miraa to Djibouti daily, which is nearly half of what was being sold to the Somali market every day.

The planned visit by the delegation will come as a boost to Kenya after the Djibouti officials who were expected in the country last year in August failed to show up.

Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) chairman Kimathi Munjuri said 20 tonnes a day of export is enough to boost the revenue for farmers who have been incurring huge losses since the closure of the traditional Somali market three years ago.

“We are expecting this delegation in the next couple of days. Djibouti will be a key market for us given that they can take huge quantities of what we produce locally,” said Mr Munjuri.

Officials from Djibouti were to visit Kenya in August after their counterparts from the Ministry of Trade and the Meru County went to the horn of Africa in search of a new market.

However, they did not show up with stakeholders blaming Ethiopia’s hand on it given that Djibouti is a key market for Addis Ababa.

Djibouti is getting most of its khat supply from Ethiopia, but there is a huge deficit for the stimulant as Addis Ababa is unable to meet the country’s total demand. The Djibouti market is an initiative of the County Government of Meru, which through the ministry of trade is pushing for access.

Mr Munjuri said Djibouti was the next big market for Kenyan miraa after the standoff between Kenya and Somalia escalated for long with traders failing to access the market for almost two years now.

The official said the Somalia market is no longer tenable and that Kenya has to scout for new markets elsewhere as the political tension in Mogadishu between the President and the prime minister, coupled with this week’s ruling on Kenya-Somalia maritime border will further complicate the access to that market.

Somalia currently allows Ethiopia to export its khat to the country, technically locking out Kenya out of this crucial market.

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