Embu miraa farmers demand inclusion in task force

Man in court for stealing miraa

A Member of Parliament has joined Miraa farmers from Embu in calling for a review of the composition of the Miraa Task Force that will incorporate representatives from the county.

Mbeere North MP Muriuki Njagagua said Embu is a major producer of Muguka variety of miraa and should be taken as a serious stakeholder in issues facing Miraa industry.

Njagagua also wants the county to receive at least Ksh 330 million out of the  Ksh 1.6 billion that the Government has allocated to promote the Miraa sub-sector in the country.

Speaking when he hosted Miraa farmers from Mbeere, Njagagua lauded the government for classifying Miraa as a cash crop but urged the President to expand it so that people with knowledge on miraa farming in Embu are included in the task force.

Njagagua said the money will help in training farmers and sinking earth dams to enable farmers build the capacity to produce quality and more khat.

The legislator said it should be clear to all that the Ksh 1.6 billion kitty is meant for all miraa growing regions and not just Meru County.

He further appealed to the Embu County Government to build earth dams which can provide water to irrigate miraa in addition to clean drinking water especially for people in the semi-arid Mbeere region.

He said in the proposed Miraa policy and Regulatory Bill that the county government is working on, only reasonable taxation should be imposed to avoid burdening the farmers.

Francis Kimori, Chairman of Embu Muguka Sacco said proceeds from miraa have transformed Mbeere from a poverty ridden region that relied on relief but Miraa has replaced other cash crops such as cotton which used to the cash crop.

Kimori expressed hope that they will work closely with the government by being involved in making this thriving business in the county explore.

Last week, Miraa farmers and traders moved to court to block public funding and swearing in of officials of the newly formed Miraa Task Force that is intended to oversee the Miraa business activities.

They argued that the real Miraa traders and farmers are not represented in the task force.

The farmers and traders claimed that the task force was formed contrary to an initial court order of 26th April 2016; that had quashed another gazette notice of may 2015 over the similar issues of contention.

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Story By Peter Gachanja
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