Kenya will resume exports of Miraa (Khat) to Somalia in two weeks, following friendly relations that saw President Uhuru Kenyatta travel to Mogadishu for the first time since the two countries renewed diplomatic ties last June.
Kenyatta, according to Kenya’s Agriculture Secretary Peter Munya, brokered the deal with new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Thursday, which will result in the lifting of a two-year ban.
Munya stated that the export of the crop, which is primarily grown in Meru County, would begin in a fortnight after the two heads of state sign a formal trade agreement.
The minister also announced that direct flights between the two countries would resume on Tuesday, allowing the crop to be flown directly from Isiolo airport.
He said a bilateral air service agreement would be signed on the sidelines of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Munya told the press outside Kaliati dispensary in Tigania West, Meru County, as he began a two-day regional tour to meet with local farmers, that the new Somalia regime had promised improved diplomatic relations.
He stated that the trade talks were formalized after the Kenyan delegation, led by President Kenyatta, attended Mr Mohamud’s inauguration in Mogadishu on Thursday.
“We want to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for the diplomatic negotiations he has been carrying out quietly. The ban had greatly affected the economy of Mt Kenya East and the farmers’ earnings,” he said.
Munya stated that the talks had concluded and that all that remained was the signing of the agreement, which will also see Somalia sell seafood and other produce to Kenya.
Following a political fallout between the two countries under former President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmaajo,” Somalia closed access to its market for Kenya in 2020. The ban resulted in a daily loss of more than 50 tonnes of Kenyan khat worth more than Ksh20 million ($171,000).
Munya emphasized the significance of the Somalia market, stating that it is profitable and serves as a launching pad for cargo transit to the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, and other countries.
Copyright: News Central TV
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.