Chewing over change: Miraa farmers move on to passion fruit and dairy cows

Zachary Mutisya in his dairy farm in Meru. The former miraa farmer now keeps cows after the ban opened his eyes. PHOTO | SHERIDAN GUNDERSON | NATION MEDIA GGROUP

What you need to know:

  • Now they are taking matters into their own hands, educating themselves about what to grow next by surfing the net and reading the Seeds of Gold.
  • Although the impacts of the ban are blatant and radical for all those growing miraa, there is a small group of farmers who are using the ban as an opportunity to diversify into other crops and learn new skills to confront a future of fractured miraa markets
  • After an evening of examining Imarika Orients’ ongoing projects, Mugambi, Mutembei, and I pick a handful of miraa to take to their chewing session.

June 24, 2014 is a date seared in the memory of residents in the Nyambene Hills. It was on this day that Britain placed a ban on miraa, a cash crop grown by almost every farmer in the region. Even those who do not grow the crop have been hit hard with the economic impacts of the ban.

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