Kenya will resume miraa (khat) exports to Somalia in two weeks after ties thawed as President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday made his first trip to Mogadishu since the two countries renewed diplomatic ties last June
Kenya’s Agriculture Minister Peter Munya said Mr Kenyatta on Thursday negotiated the deal with new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud that would see a two-year ban lifted.
Mr Munya said , the export of the crop mainly grown in Meru County, would start in two weeks when the two heads of state sign a formal trade agreement.
The minister also announced that direct flights between the two neighboring countries will resume from next Tuesday would be included, a step that would mean that would allow harvesting to be flown directly from Isiolo airport.
A bilateral air ve The transport agreement would be signed on the sidelines of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) meeting scheduled for Tuesday in Nairobi, he said. Addressing the press Next to Kaliati Pharmacy in Tigania West, Meru County, said Mr Munya, as he began a two-day regional tour to local farmers, Mr Munya said the new Somali regime had promised improved diplomatic relations.
He said trade talks were cemented after the Kenyan delegation, who he attended the inauguration of Mr. Mohamud in Mogadishu on Thursday, led by President Kenyatta.
Read:Uhuru in Somalia for the inauguration of Mohamud
“We would like to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for the diplomatic negotiations he has been quietly conducting. The ban has had a major impact on Mt. Kenya East’s economy and farmers’ incomes,” he said.
Mr. Munya said talks have been completed and what is still pending is the signing of the deal, which will also see Somalia selling seafood and other products to Kenya.
Somalia blocked access to its market to Kenya in 2020, after a political row erupted between the two countries under former President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmaajo”. The ban resulted in the loss of more than 50 tons of Kenyan khat worth more than Ksh 20 million (US$171,000) a day.
Underlining the importance of the Somali market, Mr Munya said he was lucrative and serve as the launch pad for cargo transit to the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and other countries.
$1 = Ksh117.10