Media personality Caroline Mutoko has urged Ameru farmers to adopt bhang farming as an alternative to miraa farming, which for long has been their source of livelihood.
Britain issued a ban on importation of miraa into the country in 2014 – and the decision adversely affected families in Meru, with many saying they currently face difficulties in raising school fees for their children.
In 2012, Netherlands, which was the biggest foreign market for miraa banned its sale prompting outcry from Kenyan traders.
Kenya used to export about 20 tonnes of miraa weekly – crop that was valued at an estimated Ksh1.4 million. The local market consumes more than 60 tonnes weekly.
Miraa sold locally is not of the same grade as the one for export.
And now that miraa market on international platform is completely trimmed, Caroline Mutoko says she has a solution to the financial woes that members of the Ameru community (largest traders of miraa in Kenya) could be going through as a result of the ban.
“You have nowhere to take this crop – and no amount of noise will force anyone to buy something they don’t want. Let’s also get quick with reality. I am not a politician, which is the difference between me and people who don’t tell you the truth. Politicians are not in the business of telling you the truth; they tell you what you want to hear. I am in the business of telling you the truth. You can troll me, but I am always right,” said Caroline in a video posted on her YouTube channel Wednesday, July 13.
“The EU is not going to take the miraa. The crop’s traditional market is dead!” she firmly added.
“We live in a world where 25 of the 50 U.S. states have legalized recreational and medical marijuana. Why aren’t you growing it? You have a market. What is your legislator doing to ensure as a country that it is no longer illegal for us to grow marijuana and export it? And what is the rest of the machinery doing to make sure that the markets are not here, they are out there – where they are able to take your fantastic medical grade marijuana?
“We get excited. There is a billion shilling coming to Meru! You and I know a billion can crush the people of Meru, especially if it is going nowhere. You cannot grow a crop that is not going to go anywhere. It doesn’t matter if for the last 50 years that is how you survived. Move on!” said Ms Mutoko.
“Your days of selling miraa are over. You need to make a living. But there’s a new day and it is called marijuana. Sell it! There isn’t just one market in the U.S., there are several markets. This is why you elect people to leadership positions. Their job is to find you those markets. Miraa was good! Long live miraa, long live bhang. That is the next thing for you!” she concluded.