How Britain’s ban on khat created a supply glut in Somalia
Connoisseurs are delighted, but exporters in Kenya say the ban has slashed their profits
Wednesday 27 August 2014
“The president has arrived, the president has arrived,” chant youths in Mogadishu’s Beerta Khaatka market, as armed men in trucks mounted with machine guns escort lorries with horns blaring through the throng.
The joking salutation is not for Somalia’s president, but hails white sacks brimming with leafy sprouts of khat, the narcotic shrub chewed across the Horn of Africa and Yemen in a tradition dating back centuries, which has recently been banned in the UK.
The sight of young men with rifles slung over their shoulders and green stalks of khat dangling from their mouths is emblematic of the Somalia of recent decades, where Islamist rebels and warlords have fomented a culture of guns and violence.
Grown on plantations in the highlands of Kenya and Ethiopia, tons of khat, dubbed “the flower of paradise” by its users, are flown daily into Mogadishu, to be distributed to markets across Somalia.
Britain, whose large Somali community sustained a lucrative demand for the leaves, banned khat from July. This prohibition jolted the khat market, creating a supply glut in Somalia and pushing down prices, to the delight of the many connoisseurs of its amphetamine-like high.
“Those who exported to London have now made Mogadishu their khat hub,” said Dahir Kassim, who works for a trader in the capital.
The price of the cheap Laari khat popular in the impoverished country has halved to about £6 per kg since Britain outlawed the stimulant.
Before the UK ban, Mohamed Khalif, a 27-year-old mason’s assistant, could only afford to chew once a week. “Now I chew daily and my problems are over,” said Mr Khalif, blissfully.
But khat exporters in Kenya, where the cash crop bolsters the local economy, say the UK ban has slashed their profits.
“Britain has made our khat business useless,” said Nur Elmi, a khat trader in Nairobi. “They cannot afford to buy it all (in Somalia), so we sell it at throwaway prices,” he said.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk 'tactical missile' explosion at factory sends blast wave across rebel-held city
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Oscar de la Renta dead: Legendary US fashion designer dies after long cancer battle aged 82
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments
£60000 - £70000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£25000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job ? This is a new post...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Southampton: We are looking for Primary School ...