Miraa traders can now breathe a sigh of relief as the Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) has reconsidered its previous stance and granted them continued access to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, marking a significant development for their financial operations.

In a letter obtained by Business Day Africa, the KAA has expressed its satisfaction with the security measures in place for miraa handling at the airport, the very aspect that had initially led to the restriction of this commodity within the airport premises.

“The handling of miraa and avocados at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is a well-coordinated airfreight processing activity.”

“All security measures in the handling of miraa and avocados from their entry into the airport to their processing for uplift at the transit sheds in JKIA, are deemed satisfactory and therefore the earlier directive is hereby immediately revoked,” said KAA Ag boss Henry Ogoye in a letter dated October 19, 2023.

It is worth noting that KAA had recently issued a directive instructing miraa exporters to use the Mitchell Cotts warehouse located along Mombasa Road for processing their consignments before transporting them to the airport for international shipments.

However, following a visit to the airport by the Senate to mediate on behalf of the traders, this directive has been swiftly overturned.

A batch of miraa. Image: courtesy.
A bunch of miraa. Image: courtesy.

During a meeting with KAA’s management, Deputy Speaker Murungi expressed valid concerns about the original directive, highlighting its lack of proper justification, inadequate planning, and the absence of consultation with key stakeholders.

This turn of events had stirred discontent among miraa traders who contended that it was based on an unofficial and unilateral decision.

On October 12, miraa traders had formally reached out to KAA, seeking an update on their request and vehemently protesting against the abrupt nature of the directive.

Chairman of the Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) Kimathi Munjuri, stressed their concerns in the letter.

“We are very worried by the directive by KAA and register our protest against it because of the very short notice it allows,” said Mr Munjuri.

The reversal of this directive is a major boon for miraa traders, as it saves them from incurring additional costs associated with last-mile transportation to the airport.

This development restores a more conducive and cost-effective environment for the financial aspects of their business operations.