Outcry as miraa exporters kicked out of Kenya airport

Saturday October 07 2023
Miraa boxes at JKIA

Empty miraa packaging boxes being pre-cooled in the cold room at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya on October 21, 2011. PHOTO | NMG


Miraa exporters have protested a decision by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to relocate miraa cargo handling from warehouses at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

According to a letter from KAA, all miraa and avocado consignments will be sorted and packed at a warehouse outside the airport from October 9.

The letter said the decision was based on a meeting held by the Head of Public Service with miraa exporters.

“No miraa pickups will be allowed to access JKIA premises as discussed in the security meeting,” reads the letter by KAA Acting Managing Director Henry Ogoye.

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But the Nyambene Miraa Trade Association has protested the directive to evict miraa exporters from JKIA, saying it was misinformed.


Nyamita chairman Kimathi Munjuri said KAA had raised concerns about idling, overcrowding, littering and rowdiness by miraa cargo handlers, which was tarnishing the image of the international airport.

“These claims caught us by surprise because the only complaints we were made aware of are cases of miraa concealment. Miraa operations are highly organised and in line with the standards and image of an international airport,” the chairman said.

Mr Munjuri has also questioned the directive that the miraa cargo handled at a specific private warehouse outside the airport.

“We first held a meeting with KAA and they gave miraa operations a clean bill of health. During a meeting with the head of public service in July, he promised to visit the airport to assess our operations. We have been waiting for the head of public service to visit us at the airport until this week when we received eviction orders,” Munjuri said.

He argued that miraa cargo is prepared at well-secured warehouses, some of which are owned by industry players.

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“Why is KAA relocating us to Mitchell Cotts, a private warehouse, without involving us? We have not assessed the premises to establish if they befit our operations. Why should we leave our warehouses within the airport to pay a competitor?” he asked.

The Nyamita chairman argued that the short notice for the relocation is likely to destabilise the export of miraa to Somalia, Israel and Sierra Leone.

They now want KAA to reverse the relocation order for smooth operations.