Concern for khat farming in Kenya

KENYA  - Khat farming in Kenya&39;s Meru County is crucial for the economy and for families.

For generations, the drug has been farmed in the region.

The drug generates USD100-million a year for Kenya, making it the country&39;s third biggest cash crop.

It&39;s not only chewed, but used as tithe in church, as part of dowries, and even has medicinal uses.

It&39;s the heart of Meru&39;s economy -- around 80 percent of the population relies on the drug.

But its narcotic properties have been the subject of wide debate.

Its effects include euphoria and alertness, like drinking a lot of strong coffee.

The UK, for instance, recently banned the drug.

It&39;s affected the people of Meru, since it&39;s a crucial cultural part of people&39;s lives there.

For them, it&39;s much more than just a cash crop, though.

But the drug is not without its dangers.

Experts say chronic use can cause exhaustion, depression, and even violent behaviour.

So like many things in life, moderation is key.

* eNCA&39;s East Africa Correspondent Soni Methu filed her report into the issue - watch the video package above as she learns more about the farming of the drug from a Khat farmer himself.