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Green Gold

Interesting Slate article on the miraa industry in Kenya. Here’s an excerpt:

Miraa is certainly a striking example of business ingenuity rising to meet formidable challenges. The chemicals that give chewers their high start breaking down as soon as the twigs are picked, so time is of the essence. Somehow, an industry with no coordinating body, whose players are mainly small farmers or modest middlemen, manages to get tens of thousands of neatly packed kibundas (bundles) of fresh miraa loaded onto the “miraa jets”—the Toyota pickups that line Maua’s main drag; down the long, potholed road to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport; crammed aboard the notoriously overloaded flights; and onto the coffee tables of expectant chewers in foreign capitals in under two days. “This is a business which has always operated informally, in which accounts are kept on the back of cigarette packets, yet it’s the most efficient agricultural industry on the planet,” says Paul Goldsmith, a Meru-based development expert. “The commodity has a 48-hour shelf life, but it goes all over the world.”

19 comments to Green Gold

  • I did indulge in this habit way back when. I must say, given that addiction, a 24 shelf life would be plenty. More so, the” shelf” life of the average Kenyan is currently at less than 40yrs. given the agency, what would it take for the government to expedite reform and resources to see this number climb a notch or two? Lets query the “know it alls” at every opportunity redundancy aside!

  • I guess, legal or not, it’s another proof of how well everything runs if you exclude government. Makes you wonder who came up with a one order society system and called it functional?

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