Musa Gurian: The Miraa Farmer Who Owns 12 Private Planes

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Musa Gurian: The Miraa Farmer Who Owns 12 Private Planes
Miraa Photocredit/TheStar

‘Khat’ or miraa is a stimulant drug that is popular in Somalia and Middle East countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Miraa farmers in Kenya continue to make a tidy sum from this stimulant with its major market being in the neighbouring Somalia. According to a report appearing on Business Daily, Kenya exported miraa worth Ksh 1 billion to Somalia in under one month after the resumption of the trade.

Here is what WoK has gathered about Musa Gurian, the miraa businessman who owns 12 private planes for his export business.

Background

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Musa Gurian is a renowned miraa farmer who exports his produce to Somalia. The stimulant is mainly cultivated in Meru County. The plant is chewed and causes excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria. His business acumen in the trade has seen him own business twelve private planes that he uses to fly his miraa products abroad as reported by Business Daily. Despite being among the wealthiest individuals in the region, Musa is a recluse and very little is known about him.

Cost of the Planes

According to data from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), Kenya had 958 registered planes in 2015 but the number has increased by 32 percent to over 1,268 planes by the end of 2020. Out of this number, 400 are registered as private planes and more than 80 percent of the newly registered planes are light aircrafts weighing up to 10 tonnes. Musa Gurian aircrafts are mainly Cessna and Pipers plane brands. In a report by the Nation, a used Cessna 150 plane in good working condition retails at around Ksh 2.7 million while a used Cessna 182 costs up to Ksh 8.9 million.

Other costs include parking fees, insurance, high jet fuel prices, maintenance and operational costs, spare parts and airport landing fees. At Wilson airport, a small four seater Cessna 206 is charged Ksh 600 a day for parking, Ksh 1,500 as navigation fee and Ksh 300 for every passenger carried on board. The same aircraft consumes between 60 to 80 liters of fuel per hour and with the jet fuel retailing at Ksh 162 per liter, it will cost you Ksh 13,000 for every hour in the clouds.

The Miraa Business

It is estimated that around 20 million people in the world chew miraa on a daily basis. Miraa farmers in Kenya have for the longest time targeted the domestic market in major towns and cities. However this is continuing to change thanks to the new entrepreneurs joining the industry. According to the Miraa export data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics for 2008 to 2012 period, the highest foreign exchange export earnings from the venture have reached as high as Ksh 6.9 billion. Kenya mainly exports its miraa to Somalia while Djibouti, Somaliland, Israel, Uganda, Mozambique, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remain as potential markets. However, Kenya suffered a major blow in 2019 after Mogadishu banned the export of the stimulant after a diplomatic row.

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However in July 2022, the export of miraa to Somalia resumed after a bilateral meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somalia counterpart. Immediately after the news, Kenya exported miraa worth Ksh 221 million to Somalia in just four days and in just three weeks, the country had exported 375 tonnes of the stimulant estimated to be worth over Ksh 1 billion.

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