Talks to open Djibouti miraa market fail again

Commodities

Talks to open Djibouti miraa market fail again


Vendors sell Miraa at Hola centre in Tana River County. PHOTO | STEPHEN ODUOR | NMG

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Summary

  • Djibouti’s minister for trade was to lead the delegation to Nairobi on February 10 but officials said he was taken ill leading to the cancellation.
  • The mission was expected to unlock the Horn of Africa market, coming at a time when Kenya has been grappling with lack of export market for the stimulant.
  • Kenya has been eyeing Djibouti after Somalia closed access to its market in 2020 following a political fallout.

Miraa farmers will have to wait longer to access the Djibouti market after a delegation that was scheduled to visit the country last month failed to show up.

Djibouti’s minister for trade was to lead the delegation to Nairobi on February 10 but officials said he was taken ill leading to the cancellation.

The mission was expected to unlock the Horn of Africa market, coming at a time when Kenya has been grappling with lack of export market for the stimulant.

Kenya has been eyeing Djibouti after Somalia closed access to its market in 2020 following a political fallout.

The country aims 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 before it was closed.

“We were informed that the head of delegation was taken ill hence could not travel to Kenya for the meeting,” said Kimathi Munjuri, the chairman of Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita).

This marks the second time that the planned visit by the Djibouti delegation has been called off after officials who were expected in the country last year in August failed to show up.

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 last year and a deal was to be sealed in Nairobi.

Djibouti is getting most of its khat supply from Ethiopia. However, there is a huge deficit for the stimulant as Addis Ababa is unable to meet the country’s total demand.

The courting of Djibouti is an initiative of the county government of Meru which through the Ministry of Trade is pushing to access that market after Kenya lost the Sh16 million-a-day Somalia market.

The official said the Somalia market is no longer tenable given the political tensions there and its fallout with Kenya over their maritime border.

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

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