Khat and its changing politics in Kenya and Somalia after UK ban

A global perspective might suggest that the anti-khat sentiment so evident among the Somali diaspora in Europe has won out
The Conversation (UK)
Tuesday, July 19, 2016

khat treeIn 2014 the UK banned khat, the stimulant stems and leaves of the tree Catha edulis. This move brought to an end the weekly importation into London’s Heathrow of about 56 tonnes of the commodity. Most had been grown on farms in Kenya’s Nyambene Hills in Meru County. An estimated £12.7 million was remitted to Kenya from the UK for this trade in 2010 alone. The loss of this income has had adverse economic effects in those parts of the growing regions that had been reliant on the UK market. While prohibitions are being introduced in other countries too, in Kenya the British ban has actually served to make the substance more respectable and secure in status. But with its last major international market of Somalia threatened, the fate of this international pariah crop is far from certain.