Nyambene Miraa Trade Association (NYAMITA) wants the government to include discussions about the resumption of miraa exports to the United Kingdom on the agenda during the visit by the British monarch.
The trade association expressed the need for this issue to be a key point during bilateral talks, with the aim of reviving what was once a lucrative market for Kenya.
“We, as traders, strongly believe that the resumption of Miraa exports to the UK should be part of the discussions during this visit. If it’s not already on the agenda, we urge it to be included promptly,” the lobby stated.
In 2014, the UK, previously one of miraa’s largest markets, classified the stimulant as a class C drug, leading to a ban on all imports.
This decision had severe consequences for farmers in Meru, which is Kenya’s primary Miraa-producing region.
Miraa has been the lifeblood of this community for generations, and the ban significantly impacted the local economy and livelihoods.
A decade has passed since the ban on miraa exports to the United Kingdom, a decision seemingly driven by political motivations, with Theresa May at the forefront.
King Charles and Queen Camilla are currently on a four-day State visit to Kenya, and the NYAMITA hopes that this visit presents an opportunity to address this issue.
“The ban lacked a scientific basis, and its high time for it to be reconsidered,” said the traders.
The UK government had previously made commitments regarding post-ban management but failed to fulfill them, further exacerbating the situation.
The lobby highlights that the ban has caused havoc on countless farmers and their families, severely affecting their livelihoods.
As the royal visit continues, the people of Meru County remain hopeful that the UK government might reconsider its position on the miraa ban, potentially offering a glimmer of hope for the affected community.