News / Africa

Kenya Farmers Call on Britain to Reverse Khat Ban

Men unload sacks of khat in Mandera, northeastern Kenya, Nov. 2007 file photo.
Men unload sacks of khat in Mandera, northeastern Kenya, Nov. 2007 file photo.
Kenyan politicians and khat traders are calling on the government to initiate talks with British officials to reverse the ban on khat and save the multi-million dollar agricultural sector from collapsing.
 
Kenyan farmers say the new British ban on the leafy stimulant, also known as "miraa," will have a significant adverse impact their businesses and the nation's economy. The plant, which grown in Kenya's cooler central regions for export to several European countries and Somalia, is worth big money for Kenya.
 
According to Kipkorir Menjo, director of the Kenya Farmers Association, the ban threatens the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.
 
“The miraa industry is going to face a serious challenge because they are people in the supply chain, the farmers who are planting the crop, fellows who have been distributing, fellows who have been exporting," he said. "The whole industry is likely to collapse because this is a major market which has been earning this people good money, of course also earning the country foreign exchange.”
 
On Wednesday, British Home Secretary Theresa May banned the herbal stimulant, saying her country could become a transit route for illegal shipments into other European countries.
 
The head of the Global Miraa Industry Dealers Network, Jephat Muroko, calls the ban political.
 
“To me it’s a pure politics, and not only politics but also oppressive to the miraa industry traders," he said.
 
"I think it’s part of the consequences," he added, referring to Kenya's election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces trial at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity. "But I wonder about our government, why it’s quiet about this thing.”
 
Kenya's khat traders once exported about 20 tons of the crop to the Netherlands each week, before that country joined several other European neighbors, including France and Germany, in banning the leafy stimulant.
 
Britain imported 36 tons each week prior to implementing its own ban.
 
Menjo says both khat farmers and traders need to start lobbying Britain to lift the ban or start planting other cash crops.
 
“If there will be no headway then they will have to think for other options, but I think for now I don’t want to conclude that nobody will listen to them," he said. "Hopefully they will get some way out, but if it’s not possible they will have to think some other ways of getting their livelihood.”
 
As the farmers and traders digest the latest development from Europe, another battle awaits them inside Kenya: The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse is lobbying the government to have khat classified as an illegal drug.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Craig Dillon from: USA
July 07, 2013 5:20 AM
The least Kenya should do is to ban the import of all alcoholic products from the EU. This is cultural discrimination.

by: MJ from: Sweden
July 06, 2013 12:40 PM
Somalia should also follow suit. Khat is destroying the livelihoods of many Somali families. The Somali government should start drawing a plan to ban the import of khat.
In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
July 06, 2013 10:14 PM
Somalia should not ban Khat simply because UK, for political selfish reason, banned khat. UK Home Secretary Teresa May, by defying her own advisors, made khat illegal. The advisors confirmed that there's no proof that khat has health implications, and there is no evidence that khat dealers and growers are from organised criminals. Only irresponsible Somali individuals should be blamed for the break up of their families NOT KHAT!!

by: Tracy Parker from: UK
July 05, 2013 3:47 PM
khat is a drug and should be banned in UK. Otherwise if you favour the Africans, then let the Jamaicans and all other nationals who want to bring drugs into UK do. Please spare us the Oh our economy will collapse. Teresa May, has shown good leadership
In Response

by: haji from: mombasa
July 06, 2013 7:19 AM
yes, this a drug and it has been rightfully banned in the uk n elsewhere in europe.
fr those that advocate fr its cultivation and sale it is sad to say that they are profit centric more than humane.
this drug on kenya coast is responsible fr broken homes! one only needs to see thru the eyes of the aflicted to realize the negative socio/economic impact this drug has had on the society.
women have severaly complained to to the community leaders of their husband's impotency and too lack of interest in economic activity thereby causing falling standards in education and health.
this has nothing to do with, as stated in this article "choices have consequence" this ban was looming even before the electioneering in kenya was gearing up.
this crop is not agricultural, can not be classified as such, it is more of a deathlycultural.
In Response

by: Abukar Awale from: UK
July 05, 2013 7:41 PM
Well done Teresa May, the life's of British children is far more important then Kenya Drug dealers request ,, how stupid please let our drug in to your country so we can destroy UK citizens ..
Never Never Never ..........

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More