Meru governor Peter Munya has requested the Somaliland government to lift trade barriers that have hindered the sale of Miraa in the country.
Mr Munya said he has been in the country for three days where he held talks with the Deputy President Abdurrahman Ishmael, the foreign affairs minister and finance minister in the capital city of Hargeisa.
Speaking at Ambaru Primary School in Igembe North on Wednesday, Mr Munya said 99 per cent of the miraa sold in Somaliland comes from Ethiopia, despite Meru producing a higher quality crop.
He said miraa from Kenya, which is highly preferred there, is charged 300 per cent duty while the Ethiopian miraa is charged 100 per cent duty making it impossible for fair competition.
Somaliland broke away from the federal republic of Somalia in 1991.
It shares borders with Republic of Djibouti to the west, Ethiopia to the south and Somalia to the east, and is yet to be recognized as a sovereign state.
“In my deliberations with top government officials, I managed to convince the government to appoint a technical committee to review the duty in exchange of some form of recognition of the Republic of Somaliland by the Kenyan Government,” Mr Munya said.
However, Somaliland has a diplomatic office in Nairobi, and in 2014, the Kenya government had promised to open its offices in Hargeisa.
"The objective of my visit was to persuade the Government of Somaliland to remove the obstacles that have hindered the export of Miraa into Somaliland Republic," he said.
Munya noted that the miraa market in Somaliland is worth about Sh40 billion which the Meru farmers should share in.
“I will be presenting a report and a brief to our National Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this new development in due course for their action,” the governor said.
Speaking to Nation, Nyambene Miraa Traders Association spokesman Kimathi Munjuri welcomed the developments saying it will boost trade.
He said the association had approached the Meru county government over the matter last year leading to Mr Munya’s visit.
“We were forced out of the Hargeisa market by discriminative taxes. The Somaliland government imposed multiple taxes, and many levies that made business difficult. We could not compete with Ethiopian miraa. We are glad that Mr Munya has managed to speak to the Somaliland government over the situation,” Mr Munjuri said.
He said an Ethiopian company that has branded shops in Somaliland enjoys the miraa market due to lower taxes.
Mr Munjuri also called on the county government to engage the Somalia government saying anti-miraa lobbyists who spearheaded its ban in Europe have now camped in Mogadishu.
“Somalia is the only reliable market for miraa farmers. We need the government to secure it even before looking for new markets,” he said.