Ruto opposes Muguka ban in three coastal counties

President William Ruto has faulted the ban on miraa and muguka by Mombasa, Kilifi governors, saying the crops are legal in Kenya.

The President has also committed to allocate Sh500 million for value addition of the crops.

This was affirmed during a meeting between President Ruto and the leadership of Embu County led by Governor Cecily Mbarire on Monday evening at State House, Nairobi.

During the meeting, which was also attended by the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi, it was agreed that the farming of both miraa and muguka have been recognised by national legislation, hence any other laws or order that contradicts national legislation is null and void.

According to a statement from the State House, the CS informed the President that the Crops Act 2013 and the Miraa Regulations 2023 were passed by the National Assembly and the Senate and with the concurrence of the Council of Governors.

“Having been passed by Parliament, the regulations obligate the Government to allocate funds for the farming, licencing, promotion, regulation, transportation, aggregation, selling, marketing and export of the crop,” the statement reads in part.

“To operationalise the Crops Act 2013 the regulation provide for the establishment of the miraa/muguka Pricing Committee. Consequently, the Council of Governors has already nominated three members to the committee,” the statement further reads.

Further, the meeting resolved that the future of miraa/muguka is in scaling up farming, aggregation, grading, pricing, packaging and value addition of the crop.

“For this reason, the government has committed to allocate Sh500 million in the 2024/25 Financial Year for value addition of these scheduled crops,” the statement reads.

The President has also directed the Ministry of Agriculture to convene a consultative forum to address the concerns raised and agree on the implementation of the Miraa/Muguka Regulations 2023.

Governor Mbarire was accompanied by her deputy Justus Mugo, Embu Senator Alexander Munyi, Embu Woman Representative Pamela Njeru, Members of National Assembly and all Members of Embu County Assembly.

The President’s stand on the matter comes as a huge relief for miraa and muguka farmers. The ban evoked mixed reactions among farmers, consumers and politicians from Embu County.

This comes in the backdrop of the decision by Mombasa County Governor Abdulswamad Nassir to ban the sale and distribution of miraa and muguka in the county through an executive order dated May 22, 2024.

A similar directive was issued by Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro who cited the detrimental effects of consumption of the two stimulants.

Taita Taveta county became the third county to ban sale and consumption of miraa and muguka.

In Embu county, the bans have however drew outrage from farmers of the crop.

Police in Embu were forced to use teargas to disperse muguka farmers who were protesting the ban.

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