Market News

Uganda now puts Kenya farm goods ban talks on hold

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Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries PS Harry Kimtai. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

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Summary

  • The land land-locked neighbour informed Kenya that the notice for the intended mission to resolve the trade dispute Nairobi issued was too short to warrant the meeting.
  • On Monday, Kampala said it would ban some of the agricultural produce from Kenya in retaliation to Kenya’s ban on its poultry and dairy products.
  • The Kenyan officials were to visit Uganda to verify claims that sugar and milk imported from the landlocked neighbour originates from third-party countries — a claim Kampala denies.

Uganda has postponed a Kenya trade mission to Kampala meant to resolve a spat that has seen the country propose a ban on Kenya’s agricultural produce in retaliation to Nairobi barring Ugandan milk and poultry imports.

The land land-locked neighbour informed Kenya that the notice for the intended mission to resolve the trade dispute Nairobi issued was too short to warrant the meeting, urging for selection of another date, just as the team was planning to visit this month.

“I have received communication from my counterpart in Uganda asking us to propose new dates because the communication was received late and they would require sufficient time to prepare for our mission,” said Livestock PS Harry Kimtai.

On Monday, Kampala said it would ban some of the agricultural produce from Kenya in retaliation to Kenya’s ban on its poultry and dairy products.

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).

The Kenyan officials were to visit Uganda to verify claims that sugar and milk imported from the landlocked neighbour originates from third-party countries — a claim Kampala denies.

This is the second time that the Kenyan mission to Uganda has been postponed. Last month, the trip was called off at the last minute in what the authorities in Nairobi said was due to a lack of preparedness by stakeholders in the delegation.

The row has been simmering since 2019, when Kenya locked out the popular Lato Milk brand, produced by The Pearl Dairies, subjecting the brand to major losses.

The firm is the largest processor of milk in Uganda with a daily capacity of 800,000 litres. Its brand was popular in Kenya and retailed at a lower cost than the local milk.

In July 2020, Kenya followed up with a ban on Ugandan sugar, against an earlier agreement to increase the country’s sugar exports to Kenya.

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