Kenya: Miraa traders head to EU court

Published: May 4, 2014

MIRAA traders plan to move to the European Court of Justice over a looming ban in the UK after efforts to stop the outlawing of the drug in a London court flopped.

A spokesperson for the traders in Kenya, Kimathi Munjuri has said that the uncertainty over miraa exports to the UK is complicating business plans.

“Our biggest fear is the closure of our last biggest export market,” Munjuri said yesterday.

Kenya exports about 20 tonnes of miraa weekly valued at an estimated Sh1.4 million. The local market consumers over 60 tonnes weekly, according to Munjuri. It is exported four times weekly.

“We are forced to export as if we are doing business on trial and error basis yet the miraa business is very expensive to run,” Munjuri told journalists at a media briefing in Nairobi.

The case in London was filed by Mahmoud Hamed on behalf of all the traders. Speaking from London, Hamed said the traders lost the case on Tuesday hence an appeal at the European Court will be filed within seven days.

The UK government announced last year that it will ban khat trade but is yet to disclose the implementation date hence the uncertainty over exports.

Munjuri said exporters are suffering delayed or lack of payment in some cases over the uncertainty. In 2012, Netherlands, which was the biggest foreign market for miraa banned its sale prompting outcry from Kenyan traders.

The traders have started scouting for new markets, efforts that have led to foray into Malawi and Mozambique although volumes sold in these countries remain small at one tonne per week according to Munjuri.

Source: The Star

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