Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration (MoTRI) said Tuesday that only in July, 2022 contraband Khat, a stimulant leaf worth 30,991,920 Birr seized at the border areas.
From 2017-2021, 77,276,456 kilogram Khat worth 90,623 Birr was seized at the borders areas, according to Belay Hagos, who is in charge of Agricultural Commodities Export Trade Desk at MoTRI.
He presented about the challenges of Khat trade during a consultative meeting aimed at solving the problems of illegal trade on Tuesday.
Illicit Khat trade is among the challenges in the export market of agricultural products.
Khat is popular in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with up to 10 million people consuming it daily. The growing demand for stimulants pushes farmers to turn to grow Khat, abandoning grains. A decade ago, 1.7 million farmers were cultivating Khat. The number had swelled to 4.1 million last year. Annual harvests have tripled to a little more than three million quintals over the same period, while the area covered by the cash crop jumped by over 200% to 340,000 hectare of land.
Ethiopia is the leading Khat producer, with its southeastern belt covering the majority of Khat farms. Oromia Region is the top producer with 1.3 million quintals yearly, followed by the South-Western and Sidama regions. They each produce 650,000 quintal a year.