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No, miraa does not affect sexual performance: Traders

Miraa traders and consumers have disputed a study showing that the stimulant could cause heart attack and affect sexual performance among men.

A report by medical experts from Moi University, released last week, says that chewing khat could cause a rise in blood pressure.

Psychiatrist Dr Lukoye Atwoli, who is also the Dean of Students at Moi University School of Medicine, said continued use of the plant leads to lower quality sperms.

The report came as the Government last week said it was planning to step up its study on the stimulant by investing in a research institute in Meru.

But miraa and muguka traders and consumers in Meru and Embu counties, who have not carried out any scientific study have said the findings are untrue.

Miraa is grown in Meru while muguka, a cheap stimulant, is grown in the drier parts of Embu County.

Traders at Kawanjara in Embu said there only extensive research on miraa would establish the truth.

“We have been chewing miraa since time immemorial but we continue to give birth to healthy children,” said Ms Fridah Karwitha, a trader and a consumer.

Her sentiments were echoed by Mr Anthony Njagi, a father of three, who added that the Government does not have the interest of miraa farmers at heart.

“We are surprised by the turn of events. We did not see or hear of any research conducted by the so-called dons. They should visit miraa growing areas and get the facts,” said Mr Njagi.

In Meru, a lobby said the report contradicted the situation on the ground since the county’s population, especially in Nyambene, has been rising.

The Green Gold Ambassadors said the Meru population rose, going by the 1999 and 2009 census.

“Any credible scientific study should draw its subjects from the area of research,” said Mr Rajesh Hirani, the patron of the lobby.