Kenya: Miraa Khat prices fall as UK ban leads to surplus

Published: July 17, 2014

FARMERS of miraa which was recently banned in the UK have started recording a drop in value of sales as the local and regional markets suffer from oversupply.

Traders of miraa told the Star that farmers are getting less money because of influx of the product in the last major export market, Somalia where prices have dropped sharply.

Miraa exporting and marketing agency Sakijo International said Somalia, Garissa and Mandera markets are the biggest beneficiaries of the recent ban on the product’s trade in the UK as they are now well supplied leading to a price drop.

“Somalia is taking almost ten extra tonnes and the prices have come down. Where farmers should be earning about Sh50,000 a bag they are now getting between Sh20,000 and Sh25,000,” said Sakijo’s spokesperson Kimathi Munjuri.

A miraa trader in Eastleigh, Jotham Koome told the Star that prices in Somalia have halved since the ban became effective.

Koome said a kilo of miraa was now being sold at $7(Sh613.90) from $14(Sh1227.80) previously.

On Tuesday however, the price in Somalia shot up slightly because fewer flights to ship the products operated, causing the price to increase to $13.8(Sh1210.26) per kilo.

Kenya exports about 28 tonnes of miraa daily operating a similar number of flights for the consignments. On Tuesday only 14-miraa carrying flights went to Somalia.

However, prices in the local market have not changed drastically with the current low season being due to the holy month of Ramadhan.

In Nairobi, a kilo of miraa has reduced from about Sh3,000 depending on the type to Sh2,000.

In Garissa, traders said there has been a surge in supply although some strangely said that despite the influx prices have increased slightly by Sh400 from Sh1,100 to Sh1,500.

Nairobi does not consume the same grade of miraa as the one that is exported.

Various traders said the variety of miraa sold in Nairobi is of a higher grade than the one exported as it is more fresh hence the market here has not been affected by the ban in UK.
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