Commodities

Uganda nets 43pc of Kenya’s sugar imports in deal

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Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development CS Betty Maina during SMEs Conference. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

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Summary

  • Ugandan sugar will now account for 43 per cent of the total imports by Kenya from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) after Nairobi and Kampala ironed out their trade dispute.
  • Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and her Ugandan counterpart agreed that the neighbouring State will be allowed to export 90,000 tonnes of the sweetener to Kenya as soon as the verification mission on country of origin is completed.

Ugandan sugar will now account for 43 per cent of the total imports by Kenya from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) after Nairobi and Kampala ironed out their trade dispute.

Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and her Ugandan counterpart agreed that the neighbouring State will be allowed to export 90,000 tonnes of the sweetener to Kenya as soon as the verification mission on country of origin is completed.

Kenya entered into a deal with Uganda to allow Kampala export surplus sugar into the country three years ago, but Nairobi delayed the implementation until late last year when the neighbouring state was allowed to ship in 20,000 tonnes of the 90,000 tonnes surplus that it had requested.

“Regarding Kenya’s restriction of Uganda’s sugar exports, Uganda shall export 90,000 tonnes of wholly originating sugar per annum. The findings of the ongoing sugar sector verification mission shall inform implementation of this decision,” the two governments said in a joint communiqué.

Kenya has been at loggerheads with Uganda over sugar imports with local producers arguing that the commodity coming from the landlocked neighbour originates from third party countries.

Kenya had been importing 350,000 tonnes from Comesa due to a widened deficit in its local market.

However, Treasury has capped the amount of sugar that can be imported duty free to Kenya from the Comesa states at 210,000 tonnes.

The Treasury said last month that imports that will exceed 210,163 will attract 100 percent duty as the government seeks to control the falling prices of sugar millers.

Consumer sugar prices have been also been trending downwards in the last couple of months in what the government has attributed to increased productivity.

The sugar industry reported an average cane yields of 61.64 tonnes per hectare in 2020 compared to 51.26 tonnes per hectare in 2019.