Kenya awaits Kampala talks to settle milk trade standoff


Women deliver goat milk at the delivery point in Samburu East. PHOTO | GEOFFREY ONDIEKI | NMG

Kenya is awaiting confirmation from Kampala on when to visit Uganda for a verification mission on milk to resolve a two-year trade row on dairy imports between the two countries.

In a bilateral meeting held in Nairobi last December, Uganda and Kenya agreed on other trade issues except for milk. Kampala was to issue a date this month on the Kenya delegation’s trade mission.

Kenya wants to visit Uganda to ascertain that all the milk that comes from there is produced by local farmers, following allegations that the commodity is imported from third-party countries as powder and reconstituted before it is exported to Kenya as fresh.

“We are ready to visit Uganda for this trade mission, we are just waiting for them to communicate on the date and share the itinerary of activities,” said Livestock PS Harry Kimtai.

He said once they authenticate that Uganda can produce surplus milk, which is supplied to Kenya, then the matter would be resolved once and for all.

The meeting by the Kenya delegation to Uganda has been postponed three times in the past year, delaying the resumption of normal trade on dairy products between the two countries.

The bilateral talks in December discussed and resolved trade issues touching on poultry, eggs, sugar and fish.

The two countries also agreed to resolve the circumstances surrounding the interception of fish in transit from Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The two countries have had trade disputes running for years now after Kenya confiscated milk from Uganda and banned the imports of the commodity.

Kenya averted the ban on the export of its agricultural produce to Uganda after Nairobi agreed to lift the restrictions on imports of poultry products from the neighbouring country at the tail end of last year as Kampala planned to retaliate.

The Ugandan Cabinet had in mid-December directed the Agriculture ministry to identify and list Kenyan products that would be banned by Kampala “in a short time,” forcing Nairobi to move with speed in addressing the impasse to safeguard the Ugandan exports.

Key agricultural exports to Uganda from Kenya include palm oil at Sh7.2 billion last year, sorghum (Sh1.4 billion), vegetables (Sh311 million) and legumes (Sh200 million).

[email protected]