Kenya, Uganda ease trade spat after talks


Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Kenya has 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.

A bilateral meeting held in Nairobi on Monday by Kenya’s Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya and his Ugandan counterpart Frank Tumwebaze agreed to ease the trade standoff.

The bilateral talks were on poultry, eggs, sugar, fish and milk products. The meeting aims at strengthening Kenya-Uganda bilateral ties following a frosty relationship between the two countries.

The talks come just a week after Uganda threatened to ban some of Kenya’s raw and processed agricultural produce exported to the landlocked nation.

“The ministers noted that there have been disruptions in trade in poultry and poultry products between the two countries and both parties agreed to immediately remove any administrative measures that have inhibited trade in these products,” reads a joint communique.

Kenya has in the last year banned the exports of poultry and dairy products from Uganda, straining the relationship between the two countries.

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

The two parties agreed to establish a team of key stakeholders that will comprise revenue and fisheries authorities to work out a transit mechanism for fish from Lake Turkana to the DRC through Uganda.

The trade issue on milk was, however, not resolved and the parties agreed that Kenya needs to carry out a verification mission first in Uganda, which is now slated for January next year after being postponed two times.

The Ugandan cabinet had last week directed the Agriculture ministry to identify and list Kenyan products that will then be banned by Kampala “in a short time.”

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).

Kenya and Uganda have for long had trade fights but the latest hostilities between the two East African Community states began brewing in December 2019, when Kenya stopped importing Ugandan milk, particularly the Latobrand.

The Kenyan delegation at the bilateral talks included CS Trade Betty Maina, PS Livestock Harry Kimtai, PS Crops Hamadi Boga, Director of veterinary Services Kenya Obadiah Njagi and director-general AFA Kello Harsama.

* Updated