Miraa exporters to Somalia want KQ to venture into trade

Miraa consignments worth millions destined for Somalia and Somaliland went to waste on Thursday following a crackdown on aircrafts flouting air cargo regulations.

Traders were counting losses running into millions after only four cargo planes were cleared to ferry the perishable twigs long after most of it had dried under the scorching sun at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

A day after the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) withdrew the permits of two airlines yesterday, the traders reckon that national carrier Kenya Airways  should venture into miraa transportation to Somalia to mitigate the uncertainty facing the industry.

“We feel that this will also open the doors for many small scale exporters to venture into the miraa distribution chain at the lucrative export level. At the moment, only those that can afford to hire full aircrafts which costs up to Sh1.5 million per trip to Somalia,” Nyambene Miraa Traders (Nyamita) chairman, Kimathi Munjuri said today.

He added that the situation for traders is worsened by regulation barring miraa cargo from cold storage facilities at JKIA.

“All the cold storage warehouses do not accept to store miraa due to the conditions of the international airlines that Miraa is not allowed at their destinations. They cannot risk miraa finding its way into their cargo,” Mr Munjuri said.

Cut supply

He said traders and farmers have been forced to cut down on supply to avert further losses.

Only four aircrafts left for Somalia Friday morning compared to 15 that operate on normal days.

A number of planes configured for cargo were outsourced to salvage the situation but couldn’t manage the huge volume of miraa cargo that had been delivered for the day, he said.