Miraa traders have shifted to Ethiopia as a source market for the stimulant, where they are buying nearly half of the allocated quota for the Somali market as high costs in Kenya force them to abandon the local crop.
The traders said they procure at least 40 percent of the 19 tonnes that the Somali market has allowed Kenyan business people to export to Mogadishu from Ethiopia, denying Kenya millions of shillings in earnings.
Traders are paying a commission of $4.5 (Sh548) for every kilogramme of miraa that is exported to Somalia from Kenya. The money is collected by brokers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi before they are allowed to export.
The exporters are also paying $5 (Sh609) as airfreight and handling charges per kilo once the consignment is delivered to Mogadishu.
Nyambene Miraa Trade Association (Nyamita) chairman Kimathi Munjuri said it has become untenable for traders to continue sourcing the stimulant locally.
“At least seven percent of the total allocated quota to the Somali market by Kenyan traders is being procured in Ethiopia as our business people avoid the high cost of doing business locally,” he said.
“Of the initial quota of 19 tonnes that we were allowed into Mogadishu on the reopening of the Somalia market for Kenya miraa, 40 percent is now coming from Ethiopia exported by Kenyan traders who have shifted base there.”
Head of Miraa Pyrethrum and other Industrial Crops Felix Mutwiri said they are addressing the issue with the Joint Commission of Corporation — a body bringing together officials from Kenya and Somalia to address the issue surrounding miraa exports.
“We are waiting for the new officials at the ministry to settle in the office first before we pick up the issues aimed at resolving the current challenges,” said Mr Mutwiri.
Miraa exports to Somalia hit Sh4 billion in three months to October since the country resumed selling the stimulant to the horn nation in July this year.