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From Mutuati To Manchester: Miraa's Trajectories

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Chapter Summary

From Nyambene shambas, miraa follows many different trajectories before reaching consumers. It can be very well travelled, reaching as far as North America and Australia, though mostly its reach is not so great. Miraa consumption is avid in the Nyambenes, and consequently much miraa only travels a few miles at most to local retailers. This chapter follows through a number of miraa’s trajectories to the point of retail, and is very much a tale of two diasporas: the Meru diaspora within Kenya who leave their Nyambene homes to trade miraa throughout the country, and the Somali diaspora now spread throughout the world. Before beginning this survey of miraa’s trajectories and those who operate them, the chapter looks at the middleman system. The term ‘middleman’ has negative connotations, linked as it often is to exploitation of producers.

Keywords: Kenya; Meru diaspora; middleman system; Miraa’s trajectories; Nyambene shambas; Somali diaspora



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