Kenya resumes khat exports to Somalia

An Embraer SA 190 passenger aircraft, operated by Kenya Airways Ltd., stands on the tarmac during a reopening ceremony at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Kenya Airways Plc started a three-month round of job cuts as lawmakers debate a bill to nationalize the carrier and its losses mount due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Photographer: Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FILE PHOTO: An Embraer SA 190 passenger aircraft, operated by Kenya Airways Ltd., pictured at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (Photo by Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Kenya resumed khat exports to Somalia on Sunday, a week after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somalia counterpart Hassan Mahmoud agreed on the reopening of the border between the two countries in order to ease the movement of people and enhance trade in goods and services.

Kenya’s Agriculture minister Peter Munya confirmed the departure of a flight from Nairobi carrying the khat cargo, a plant chewed for stimulant and euphoric effects.

“The miraa (khat) cargo plane has taken off to Mogadishu this morning,” local Nation.Africa quotes Munya.

A representative of khat traders in Kenya confirmed the export.

“It is true that the first cargo flight left today morning. We are, however, calling for formal communication from Somali authorities on resumption of miraa cargo flights,” said Kimathi Munjuri, the chairman of Nyambene Miraa Trade Association.

Somalia announced a ban on Kenyan khat in March 2020 amid a maritime border dispute pitting the two East African neighbours.

With the return of President Mahmoud to power, ties have improved, and a visit by the Somali President to Nairobi seemed to further facilitate a normalization of relations.