Monday September 14, 2020
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya (right) and Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance Executive Director during the launch of a sunflower farming project at Kanuni in Igembe South on September 11, 2020. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]
Agriculture CS Peter Munya has told Deputy President William Ruto to keep off the miraa market debate after the latter told miraa farmers to diversify to other crops.Munya who was launching the construction of various miraa markets and a sunflower initiative by Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance Director Mithika Mzalendo in Igembe South on Friday cautioned leaders against the politicization of the miraa issue, saying Meru is a miraa community and will not change that“We do not want Tanga Tanga and others in miraa market issue. There were people on TV telling us to seek alternatives. As a miraa community, it is the mainstay,” he said.The CS said the government led by President Uhuru Kenyatta is engaging stakeholders to ensure the country gets the market to sell khat.
“I have pleaded with the President to intervene. It is the government led by the president that is pursuing the issue diplomatically,” Munya said.Ruto’s remarksDuring an interview with Weru TV, Ruto reportedly said the government will assist farmers to diversify to other crops, as it tries to restore lost markets.Ruto said there was a challenge with the Somalia market, the biggest market for the crop and advocated for diversification so that farmers have alternative sources of income.He linked the market challenge to the border dispute between Kenya and Somalia but said there were on-going talks so that trade between the two countries can resume.Munya, however, said the miraa issue should be left to President Uhuru, who had promised to intervene to ensure the Somalia market is restored.Munya who opened a miraa market funded by the government at Athiru, revealed that a tender for the construction of a miraa shed at Isiolo Airport had been awarded, saying it was President Uhuru who had intervened to ensure miraa was allowed in countries that had blocked it.He also announced new markets at Kimongoro, Kiengu, Mutuate and others.Munya said with the miraa fund, a new borehole was ready at Kiutine in Igembe Central Sub County.He gave contracts for drilling of more holes in the region.
Munya who hosted miraa traders a few days ago said all registered saccos and even individuals will soon have access to the miraa revolving fund, disbursed from Mwenge Miraa Sacco.
He said loans will be at three per cent interest.
A miraa research institute will be constructed in the region by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation, to ensure farmers are empowered to tackle pests and diseases and increase quality production.