- "The same reforms being made in the coffee sector will also be prioritised for Miraa."
- He explained that the proceeds from Miraa have positively impacted the lives of the many residents in the region.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has reiterated the government's commitment to resolving challenges affecting Miraa farmers.
Speaking during a church service at the Methodist Church of Kenya in Kaelo, Meru, Gachagua urged Nacada to reverse its decision to categorise miraa as a drug.
"We want to tell Nacada that Miraa is not a drug it’s a cash crop like any other. Those saying Miraa is a drug are enemies of the Meru Community," Gachagua.
"The same reforms being made in the coffee sector will also be prioritised for Miraa."
He explained that the proceeds from Miraa have positively impacted the lives of the many residents in the region.
Gachagua said President William Ruto will honour his commitments to boost the sector by securing a ready market across the country’s borders.
"These people went to school because of Miraa and these churches that you see here were built from its proceeds," he said.
He also said he would soon convene a Miraa conference similar to the previous ones of tea and coffee to discuss issues ailing Miraa farmers.
The meeting, he added, is aimed at coming up with tangible solutions which include finding markets to ensure farmers growing it benefit.
He said he is working closely with Cabinet Secretaries Mithika Linturi (Agriculture) and Simon Chelugui (Cooperatives) to ensure farmers' interests are protected.
Recent research by the agency indicates that miraa and muguka are some of the leading drugs abused by Kenyans aged 15-65 years.
Nacada CEO Victor Okioma said Miraa is "a drug that causes many disorders" as it contains psychotropic substances that make people addicted.
"There are people who are being rehabilitated because of chewing miraa but the most harmful is muguka," Okioma said.
The statement by the DP comes only a few months after leaders from the region voiced similar concerns.
Former Agriculture CS Peter Munya said the World Health Organization has not listed miraa as a drug.
Igembe Central MP Dan Kiili said miraa should not be listed as a drug.
"Why are they not saying coffee and tea is a drug yet they keep mentioning miraa?" he posed.
Kiili said he is working on a bill to protect Miraa from "unnecessary attacks".
Nyambene Miraa Trade Association chairman Kimathi Munjuri said the listing of miraa as a drug has hurt the business.