The Somali government lifted a two-year ban on Miraa exports from Kenya after diplomatic talks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the country’s new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Thursday.
Agriculture CS Peter Munya said Export of the crop, which is mainly grown in Meru, would start in two weeks when the two heads of state sign a formal trade agreement.
Mr Munya announced that direct flights between the two countries will also resume from next Tuesday a step that would allow harvesting to be flown directly from Isiolo airport.
A bilateral air transport agreement (BASA) would be signed on the sidelines of an IGAD meeting to be held in Kenya on Tuesday that would lead to a relaxation of visa regulations.
When he addressed the press in front of the Kaliati pharmacy in Tigania West on a two-day regional tour to the local farmers, Meru County, Somalia’s new regime had promised improved diplomatic relations to Mr Munya.
He said trade talks were cemented after the Kenyan delegation led by President Kenyatta attended Thursday’s inauguration attended by Mr. Sheikh in Mogadishu.
“We would like to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for the diplomatic negotiations he has conducted quietly. The ban had a major impact on Mt. Kenya East’s economy and farmers’ incomes,” he said.
Mr. Munya said talks have been completed and is pending signing an agreement to sell Somalia seafood and other products to Kenya.
He attributed the ban to former President Mohamed Farmajo, who, said he was involved in importing Miraa from other countries, thereby putting Kenya on the sidelines.
Underlining the importance of the Somali market, Mr Munya said it was the most lucrative and served as a launch pad for cargo transit to the Horn of Africa, to the Middle East and other countries.
He said the ban has severely affected Somalia’s economy Boost farmers and have a domino effect across the region.