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Wambui: Give miraa farmers an alternative

15 July 2013, 18:10 Wangui Joseph

Othaya Member of Parliament Mary Wambui has expressed concerns over the United Kingdom’s move to ban selling of miraa in the country.

She said the crop has sustained scores of families in Eastern Kenya for years and has been the main source of livelihood for many households.

Wambui said in case of a ban the farmers should be shown an alternative cash crop to generate income since miraa has been the chief cash crop in the region.

“People of Meru do not know any other activity or cash crop and many families depend on this crop. They should be shown what to do as an alternative before the ban is implemented,” she opined.

The politician made the remarks after a church service in Othaya town where she also articulated her fears that the ban will render many people jobless.

Wambui’s sentiments came after the UK government banned sale of the crop saying it was dangerous to the health of its consumers.

The move elicited a hot debate in the national assembly with a 23-member-committee being set up to debate on the impacts of the crop and how its prohibition will affect business in Eastern Kenya.

The committee is expected to give its report to parliament with recommendations on miraa implications on health within 90 days. However, UK government reportedly has the greatest market for the product with an estimated 30 tonnes being exported to the country weekly.

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