CRUCIAL FOR OUR ECONOMY: Kenya Deputy President William Ruto being shown Miraa by one of the MPs from the Meru region, where the stimulant is a financial lifeline for many. Photo credit/ growers.

Planes carrying Khat from Kenya to Somalia have today resumed flights, following yesterday’s announcement by the East African country’s foreign minister Amina Mohammed.

Without giving explanations, two weeks ago Somalia banned Khat imports from Kenya, in the process hurting the incomes of thousands of Kenyan farmers mainly from Meru, who trade in the herbal stimulant that is the past time of most Somali men.

However, following the successful hosting of the 28th Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State Extraordinary Summit over the weekend, and after about three decades of turmoil, Somalia now seems set to join other countries in East Africa for trade.

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Dealing in Khat, commonly called miraa, is forbidden in most countries but in Somalia the multimillion dollar trade of the stimulant is carried out openly, with markets flooded daily by imports from the country’s southern neighbor, where the stimulant provides a lifeline for several growers.

In January 2013 the European Union banned the import of Khat from Kenya, forcing the country’s then energy minister Kiraitu Murungi to ask the EU to rescind its decision, following a declaration by The Netherlands that Khat is a narcotic drug.

Also, in 2014 four MPs from the greater Meru area were pushing for Khat to be included the Defence Cooperation Agreement between Kenya and the United Kingdom (UK) following a ban by the latter, which the MPs claimed had cost farmers in the East African country millions of dollars in earnings.