Miraa farmers have a new reason to smile following President-elect Dr William Ruto’s promise to crack down on cartels in the sector, who have been on a money-minting mission at the expense of the distraught farmers.
Speaking Sunday, September 9, 2022, during a thanksgiving service at Maua Stadium, Meru County, Dr Ruto assured the residents that he would deal with the group ruthlessly once he is sworn in.
“Do not worry about that business and do not be bullied by the brokers and cartels. You have given me the power to punish them and I will,” the president-elect said.
Dr Ruto was responding to calls to support Miraa farming in Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Embu counties aired by elected leaders from the areas who attended the church service.
He added that there is a scheduled meeting between him and the President of Somalia this week, with the miraa trade being top of the agenda to be discussed with the visiting head of state.
“I have a meeting with the president of Somalia this week and one of the things we will be discussing is your business of Miraa,” he stated.
Somalia has been a huge destination for the stimulant that largely contributes to the economy of the three Mt Kenya East counties. The trade suffered a huge blow in 2020 following a ban on the exportation of the commodity, citing an increased risk of COVID-19 spread, but experts attributed the action to a diplomatic row between the two countries.
However, the export partly resumed in June 2022 after the country in the Horn of Africa ushered in a new government following an election in May.
The move by the incoming president is anticipated to boost the agricultural sector in general, whose fortunes in the recent past have been bedevilled by a myriad of challenges, key among them being low returns from the sale of products.
Dr Ruto also conveyed his commitment to revitalising the entire sector, with the first action being the announcement of new fertiliser prices this week.
Email your news TIPS to firstname.lastname@example.org