Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi says Kenya has identified miraa buyers in Israel and it may soon start the exports of the stimulant to the country.

Mr Linturi said this is part of the diversification of the products that the country sells to Israel as Kenya looks for ways of filling at least one cargo flight to the Middle-East Nation.

He pointed out that Kenya was given a chance to export pineapples to Israel but failed to fill a single cargo flight, forcing the country to look for other commodities in order to fill the plane.

“I am sending the director general of Agriculture and Food Authority to Israel next week so that they can see what else we can sell to them in order to fill a cargo plane to avoid losing that market, and I am happy that miraa will be one of the things that we shall be exporting to Israel because we have already found a few buyers,” said Mr Linturi.

Officials during the World Animal Protection breakfast in Nairobi. Photo (courtesy).
Officials during the World Animal Protection breakfast in Nairobi. Photo (courtesy).

Mr Linturi said despite a ready market, it was unfortunate that Kenya has not been able to produce enough to meet the export demand for this market.

“The question we are asking is are we producing enough to support the flying in and out of cargo planes? That is the question I may not be able to answer right now,” said the CS.

Miraa traders were hit in 2020 when Somalia-Kenya’s key market for the stimulant imposed a ban on the exports, leaving farmers stranded with thousands of tonnes of the commodity.

Kenya resumed exports to Mogadishu last year but traders are only allowed to export a limited tonne each day unlike previously.

Mogadishu is prioritising the Ethiopian stimulant at the expense of the Kenyan one and Israel market may come as a major boost to local growers.

Traders have also decried higher taxes on export, which has eroded their margins and made the shipment costlier.