Miraa farmers are demanding a harmonized tax that is levied by the counties

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary with a bundle of miraa. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

The farmers of Miraa are now calling for uniform taxation in all district governments.

Agriculture Cabinet Minister Peter Munya said this could be achieved if the Miraa regulation goes into effect in 2021.

Munya spoke on Saturday at a public participation forum on the draft Plant Regulations (Miraa) 2021 in Kangeta in the Miraa zone of Igembe Central, saying the regulations are designed to ensure the promotion, development and regulation of culture for the benefit of all actors in the miraa- Value chain.

He found that different counties had to charge different rates for freight and that taxes had to be harmonized. The governor of Mombasa, Hassan Ali Joho, had reduced food consumption.

“We will hold talks with other governors to convince them to follow in Joho’s footsteps,” said Munya.

The CS said its goal is for counties to introduce uniform rates for Miraa, in contrast to the current situation where counties are charging different fees for the stimulant.

“We want to work out the regulations first before we escalate the search for additional markets and the reopening of the closed markets,” said Munya.

At the same time, he said that talks with Somalia were being conducted at a diplomatic level. He said once the regulations are in place, the next step will be to look for new markets.

The CS added that the government would also take care of the security issue for vans, which had complained of attacks, especially in the northeast.

Meru County charges Sh1,000 per one pickup load from miraa, but some counties charge up to Sh40,000 for the freight, a fact that has rubbed farmers, traders, hauliers and other gamblers the wrong way.

The regulations empower the Food and Agriculture Authority to instruct the ministry responsible for transportation to ensure efficient, regular, safe and economical transportation of Miraa in order to reduce marketing costs and maintain quality.

Munya was accompanied by senior officials from the ministry, including James Mutia, who is responsible for the miraa board of directors, and Julius Kimathi, a technical advisor.

Nyambene Miraa Farmers and Traders Association chairman Kimathi Munjuri said it was important for counties to treat Miraa just like other crops.

He suggested allowing the counties to harvest for free as farmers in key markets such as Somalia and Europe suffered from their ban.

“Let miraa get to local markets unhindered while we deal with international issues,” Munjuri said.

Igembe South politician Mithika Mwenda urged governors to support the harvest because it was just like others and a planned harvest.

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