The miraa sector will undergo a raft of changes as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS) seeks to develop a code of practice for the industry.
The stimulant, which earns Kenyan farmers nearly Ksh10 Billion a year, was banned by the UK in 2014, creating tension between the two partners.
London banned Khat with anyone found in possession of the stimulant being slapped with a Ksh9,000 fine while suppliers risk a 14-year jail term.
A majority of the European Union and G8 countries, the US and Canada also banned the use of miraa after reclassifying it as a controlled drug.
Following the bans, Kenya turned to the Middle East while seeking new markets for the crop.
In light of this, KeBS is developing a Kenya Code of Practice for the Miraa (Khat) Industry to ensure the product is standardised and accepted in the new markets.
Among the operation procedure standards includes maintaining high levels of hygiene in the entire chain from harvesting to packaging as well as loading to vehicles and aircraft.
“This code stipulates the hygienic and safety requirements during the production, handling and marketing of miraa. The standards also considers the safety provisions for consumers and workers in the industry,” the agency says in the preliminary draft.
Farmers have reported losses in millions of shillings following restrictions by foreign countries.
In 2020, the Somali government banned the import of the commodity for a week in what was attributed to a diplomatic row between Kenya and Somalia.
Traders from Kenya’s Meru and Mbeere regions alleged that the embargo had led to the loss of Ksh5 billion daily.
In August, Somalia set stringent conditions for the lifting of the ban. The country demanded that Kenya must treat Somalia as an equal, refrain from interfering with Somalia’s internal affairs, and apologise for violating Somalia’s airspace.
They also demanded that Kenya allow goods from Somalia which include fish, rice, sugar, honey, meat and milk. They also demanded that Kenya reverses the directive requiring flights from Somalia to make a detour to Wajir for inspection.