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Kenya roots for regional, international cooperation to reduce illicit cultivation, production of drugs

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Kenya has singled out the enactment of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Act of 1994 (and reviewed in 2022) that prohibits the cultivation of certain plants including cannabis as one of the key achievements made in the fight against drug abuse in the country.

This was revealed during the ongoing 31st Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies in Africa (HONLAF) in Abuja Nigeria.

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Kenya is represented by the Ministry of Interior and National Administration, the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) and the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC).

Speaking during the event, Kenya’s head of delegation to the meeting Beverly Opwora who is also the Secretary for National Administration in the State Department of Internal Security observed that regular surveillance and destruction of illicit plants as well as bringing to book persons involved in illicit cultivation are some of the strategies being implemented by the government to firmly deal with the challenge of illicit cultivation in the country.

Kenya’s lead agency in the campaign against alcohol and drug abuse, NACADA has continued to play its rightful in the reduction of illicit cultivation and production of illicit drugs in the country. The government has through the National Government Administrative structures, engaged communities affected by illicit drug cultivation and sensitized them of alternative cropping and the penalties of illicit cultivation,’’ she added.

The Head of delegation highlighted singled out implementation of the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO), Hustler Fund and provision of subsidized fertilizer as some of the government’s interventions aimed at promoting alternative development.

Speaking during the same forum, NACADA’s Ag. Chief Executive Officer Prof John Muteti similarly accentuated the Authority’s heightened efforts in public education as a deterrent to illicit cultivation and consumption of drugs and substances.

Through NACADA, Kenya is also developing a National Policy on Alcohol and Drug Abuse that advocates for the development of programmes that targets not only illicit cultivation but also addresses the plight of vulnerable persons including women and children engaged in the cultivation. Under this policy we have rallied other stakeholders to assist in generating alternative development for affected populations,” he said.

Acknowledging that the country has undertaken substantial efforts in this area, Opwora noted that much is yet to be achieved and lauded the meeting as a learning point for advancement of alternative development in Kenya.

“As a country, we are open to work with other countries particularly our neighboring countries in addressing illicit cultivation which, at times, is facilitated by border movements and activities,” she added.

The country has continued to deal with cross-border illicit trafficking with several seizures of considerable amounts of marijuana consignments worth millions of shillings along the Kenya-Ethiopia highway reported.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) the East African region is attractive to international drug trafficking syndicates as they are quick to exploit non-existent or ineffective border (land, sea and air) controls, limited cross border and regional cooperation as well as serious deficiencies in the criminal justice systems. 

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