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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid