Best quality miraa prepared for President Obama

Meru’s miraa (khat) ambassador Rajesh Hirani says he has outsourced the best quality to give to US President Barack Obama during his visit. Mr Hirani said he has approached organisers of the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit seeking to present a bunch of miraa and a seedling to Obama.

“If President Obama plants a miraa tree at the White House, he will never forget his roots, and future presidents will never undermine this crop that supports the livelihoods of more than a million people of Meru,” he said.

The gesture would elicit admiration and respect for the culture of the Meru, he added. mr Hirani said he is hopeful that he will be allowed to make the presentation as Obama’s homecoming is a “clear sign that he supports every aspect of Kenya’s economy”.

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The self-appointed miraa envoy said he will ask Obama to open up the US market and lobby against the ban of miraa exports to the UK. Hirani added that he has prepared a dossier for the summit’s international guests, to convince them to permit miraa imports.

He asked delegates from Meru to push for new markets. Mr Hirani further called upon President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene for the legalisation of the crop in Tanzania, through East Africa Community bilateral talks.

In June, Hirani started a campaign to convince Uhuru to plant at least two miraa trees at the State House garden. Planting miraa at State House would be a sign that the President respects growers, he said, adding that the crop, known as green gold, should be honoured.

He said he was also lobbying to have all restaurants and hotels designate sections for miraa chewers. Hirani said he was given the informal title of ambassador for his passion and fight for awareness on miraa as a cash crop.

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