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PRICE WARS

MCAs want miraa, muguka traders separated

Meru miraa traders accused of sparking violence over a price dispute between their product and muguka.

In Summary

• Muguka, grown in Embu, is more popular than the miraa cultivated in Meru and commands a bigger market share in Embu town. 

• Meru traders are now picking soft miraa leaves to pass as muguka and selling them at very cheap prices lowering the price of the genuine product. 

Embu County Assembly Finance Committee members led by chairman Morris Nyaga assesses damages at Kamuketha market in Embu yesterday
Embu County Assembly Finance Committee members led by chairman Morris Nyaga assesses damages at Kamuketha market in Embu yesterday
Image: REUBEN GITHINJI

Embu MCAs on Wednesday asked the county government to separate the miraa and muguka markets to stem price wars and competition witnessed in Embu town. 

The MCAs were reacting to a Tuesday night scuffle between Meru and Embu miraa and muguka traders that left several people injured at the town market. 

Assembly finance committee chairman Morris Nyaga accused Meru miraa traders of sparking the violence over a price dispute between their product and muguka at the Kamuketha wholesale market.

Muguka grown in Embu is more popular than the miraa cultivated in Meru and commands a bigger market share in Embu town. 

Nyaga said Meru traders are now picking soft miraa leaves to pass as muguka and selling them very cheaply, lowering the price of the genuine product. 

“Owing to these mischievous tricks by the Meru traders, muguka prices have drastically fallen from about Sh500 per kilo to about Sh200 and Sh100 per kilo and thus dealing a heavy blow to Embu traders and farmers,” Nyaga said.

He said Meru traders have been bringing the miraa leaves to the Embu’s Kamuketha muguka wholesale market against the wishes of the Embu traders.

Nyaga and other committee members including Peter Muriithi, Nathan Mwari, Muriithi Kiura, Salesio Kimaru, Sicily Ruguru, and Jane Muriithi blamed the Meru traders for trying to control the miraa market against the hosts.

Miraa traders were urged to respect the hospitality accorded by the Embu people by being fair in their trade dealings. 

Mwari and Kiura all from the muguka-growing Mbeere sub-county lamented farmers losses caused by unfair competition. 

They said farmers use a lot of effort and money to irrigate the muguka but are facing difficult times compared to the boom of earlier years. 

(Edited by O. Owino)