Kenyan farmers are set to benefit new market opportunity after Cornelly Serem, the Chairman of the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA), announced that the government has secured a market for Kenya’s miraa (khat) in Israel.

Finally, Kenya secures market for miraa (khat) farmers in Isreal

Speaking at the unveiling of the state-of-the-art Muringene miraa market in Meru county, Serem mentioned that miraa importers from Israel would soon be arriving in the country.

He assured that the government is committed to ensuring fair returns for miraa farmers.

The demand for miraa, known as “Gat” in Israel, is significant, particularly among Yemenite Jewish immigrants.

This demand has further increased due to the popularity of gat juice, a favored energy drink among khat consumers. However, in Israel, gat is only legal in its natural form; concentrates or extracts are prohibited.

Presently, Kenya primarily exports its khat to Somalia, with smaller quantities reaching other countries such as Somaliland, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Mozambique, and Angola.

The United Kingdom banned miraa imports in 2014 after reclassifying it as a Class C drug. Previously, the UK had imported between 2,500 to 2,800 tonnes of the stimulant annually since the 1990s.

Despite the resumption of khat exports to Somalia in July 2022 after a two-year hiatus, Kenyan miraa farmers face challenges accessing the Somali market freely.

Ethiopia successfully advocated for a 10-day exclusive khat market access to Somalia each month. Kenya’s reliance on Somalia for its khat export market makes access a subject of negotiation in disputes between Mogadishu and Nairobi.

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