Kenyans will soon start enjoying juice, energy drink, whisky, wine, and ‘guarana’ produced from miraa.
The Ministry of Agriculture showcased the products on Wednesday at the National Miraa Scientific Conference jointly organized by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Meru County Government.
The drinks are part of value addition for Khat, a mildly narcotic plant that has been chewed and enjoyed socially in Kenya and other parts of the world.
Speaking during the conference, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said an intergovernmental committee will be constituted to look into issues hampering the growth of the miraa industry in a bid to promote exports.
He termed the continued treatment of miraa as a drug by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) as the greatest impediment in the sector's growth, adding that the government is keen on providing infrastructural support to expand the sector.
"With the setting up of a research institution, we will put resources... I’m seeing miraa wine and juice. The focus is to ensure miraa farmers and traders have enhanced opportunities and markets and hence more income. That is how poverty will be fought," said Matiang’i.
"It is our responsibility to support product development and market development."
The National Miraa Scientific Conference focuses on research-based evidence on the impact of miraa on health, society, and the economy.
"When we have these visiting heads of other governments, we should include miraa in the discussions so that we stop bacterizing miraa trade. We need to do more in terms of marketing and urging other countries to open up for miraa trade," added Matiang’i.