Export permit delays hurt Kenya-Uganda milk trade

President William Ruto and Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni during his two-day State visit to Kenya.

Photo credit: PCS

Trade tensions between Uganda and Kenya continue unabated despite a joint communique between the two countries signed on May 17 when President Yoweri Museveni visited Kenya.

During the tour, the two nations committed to improving bilateral relations for mutual prosperity and development.

Market enquiries, however, revealed that the pair is yet to rest business ties between them with many traders such as dairy farmers in Uganda continuing to bear the brunt of a continued ban on permits for exports to Kenya.

Brookside Limited, owned by parent company Brookside Dairy of Kenya, is among the most affected businesses, with up to 114 export permits denied by the Kenya Dairy Board since March last year.

“We were delighted to read the communique signed by the two countries when the two heads of State met in Nairobi, as we believe it was key to unlocking trade barriers that have existed since March last year. However, a month later, we are yet to receive export permits for our long-life milk, which includes powder and ultra-high temperature (UHT) processed milk,” Benson Mwangi, Brookside Limited’s general manager, told a media briefing in Kampala.

Although Kenya has been Uganda’s main market for dairy products, emerging trade restrictions have seen Kampala search for new markets, mainly in North and West Africa.

Mr Mwangi said Brookside Limited had written several reminders to the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) on the pending permit applications.

Still, unfortunately, no response has been received so far from the regulator.

On Wednesday, officials of the Kenya Dairy Board remained mum on the matter.

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