The farmers termed the taxes levied by the Mombasa government as punitive, noting that they are left with zero profits.
The farmers are currently paying 50,000 shillings for a lorry loaded with khat which is an increase from the 20,000 shillings that they paid during governor Ali Hassan Joho’s administration.
Miraa farmers in Meru county have decried high taxes imposed on the stimulant by the government, saying they are hurting farmers.
The farmers termed the taxes levied by the Mombasa government as punitive, noting that they are left with zero profits. The farmers are currently paying 50,000 shillings for a lorry loaded with khat which is an increase from the 20,000 shillings that they paid during governor Ali Hassan Joho’s administration.
Mombasa is one of the biggest local markets for the stimulant with farmers calling for interventions from the new administration while citing tougher economic times given the low volumes of the miraa harvested. In addition, they want the government to review the rules published by former agriculture cabinet secretary peter Munya on the trade of miraa.
“Miraa was recognized as a crop by the Agriculture Ministry and allocated funds to revive the sector. These arbitrary charges being introduced are rolling back gains accrued over the past two years which would greatly have benefited farmers,” Moses Lichoro, chairman of the Miraa Growers and Traders Cooperative Union said.
Farmers are being charged $4.5 (Sh540) per kilo at Wilson airport for the export of khat to Somalia. They noted that the levy is slowing down the miraa sector recovery, demanding the “illegal” fees be scrapped.
“It is not clear why we are paying this money and to whom. Nobody has explained the origin of the levy but according to our investigations, there is a cartel benefiting from it because the charge was introduced after the ban was lifted,” Lichoro earlier said.
Since the reopening of the Somalia market, Kenyan miraa has been performing well. However, prices of the commodity in Somalia markets have declined compared with those fetched before the market was halted. Somalia is now buying a kilo of miraa at $23 (2,734 shillings) lower than the $25 (Sh2,972 shillings) fetched before the market stopped.
Kenya is now competing with Ethiopia in supplying the commodity to Somalia. Kenya only exports 150 tons of the stimulant to Somalia, while Ethiopia exports up to 400 tons. Ethiopia has been supplying Somalia with the commodity since Kenya was kicked out of the market. Ethiopian miraa is the cheapest in the market selling at $19 (2,200 shillings).