Explain whereabouts of Sh1b pledge, ministry asked

Workers harvest miraa at a farm near Kangeta market in Meru County. Photo: Joseph Muchiri/Standard)

Miraa traders have asked the Agriculture ministry to explain when farmers will receive Sh1 billion that the President said would provided to cushion the industry against the effects of a miraa ban in Europe.

Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered that Sh1billion be given to miraa farmers through the ministry to cushion them from losses as a result of a ban on the commodity in some European markets.

A taskforce was then formed to make recommendations on how the money would be used.

“The taskforce has since presented its report which does not say anything about the utilisation of the Sh1 billion,” said Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) spokesperson Kimathi Munjuri in a statement.

In June this year, a court barred the taskforce chaired by Geoffrey Mchooro from performing any duties regarding the miraa case until a pending suit is determined.

This is after Nyamita moved to court challenging how the taskforce was selected, saying the team would not represent the interests of the traders effectively.

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The traders have expressed concern over whether the money will trickle down to the intended people, who are now suffering as a result of the ban.

In 2014, the UK government announced it would classify the herb as a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The change of classification however meant that miraa would now fall under the list of banned substances.

According to a khat fact sheet for England and Wales from the Home Office, the herb contains natural ingredients which are considered controlled drugs in the UK.

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