Invest cash in miraa research, MCAs tell Gov’t
Members of Embu County Assembly have asked the National Government to invest more into research on miraa, with an aim of dismissing myths associated with the use of the plant and maximizing profitability.
Led by Nthawa MCA Ngari Makenge, the MCAs said the crop had been unfairly vilified, yet is much milder than alcohol and tobacco – substances that have more social acceptability than miraa.
“Miraa is an economic lifeline of the Mbeere community and it should be protected from being classified as a narcotic substance,” said Makenge.
Makenge also added that the crop stands to put Embu County on Kenya’s economic map if properly funded and marketed as a cash crop, and not as a drug.
The MCAs also called for a share of the Ksh.1 billion set aside for development of miraa trade, calling for provision of water for irrigation of the crop as Mbeere region is a semi arid area.
He urged the taskforce to put emphasis on value addition research and improvement of miraa varieties to ensure maximum exploitation of the crop’s potential.
The MCAs noted that students were dropping out of school as a result of miraa trade, and they called on National and County Governments to work together to curb this detrimental trend.
Chairman of the National Miraa Taskforce Nchooroo M’Mwenda pledged to take into consideration the views of the Ward Representatives, while drafting the final report on the crop that will be presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“The government will conduct research on the negative impacts of the crop that have been identified in different miraa growing regions, with an aim of demystifying myths that have been circulating about the side effects of the crop,” said Mwenda.
“The one billion allocated for miraa farmers will be used after the taskforce submits its final report,” he added.
The 14-member taskforce is on an 8-day fact finding tour of Embu County to establish the extent of Miraa farming in Embu and its socio-economic impact.
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