What you need to know:
- According to Ms Rebecca Kadaga, Cabinet has resolved to retaliate against Kenya pending completion of negotiations that seek to lift blockades on Ugandan exports.
Industrialists under Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) have welcomed a move in which government is considering to retaliate against Kenya’s ban on poultry, meat and other exports.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Mr Daniel Birungi, the UMA executive director, told Daily Monitor there was need to send a signal to Kenya, noting this could perhaps push Uganda’s biggest trade partner into negotiations.
“We welcome the gesture because we believe it could drive our neighbour onto a negotiating table. We believe Uganda should not be the one that always rolls over when neighbours wrong us,” he said, noting it was time that “Uganda also shows it is capable of playing this card when pushed hard on the wall”.
UMA has for years asked government to implement policies that would compel Kenya to stop unfair trade practices.
However, President had previously indicated there would be no retaliation, noting that issues would only be resolved through dialogue.
It is not clear, why there has been a change of heart as yesterday Frist Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs Rebecca Kadaga indicated that Cabinet had resolved to retaliate against Kenya’s unfair practices.
Kenya, Mr Birungi said, has in the last three years banned importation of Uganda’s day-old chicks, chicken, eggs, milk, maize and maize flour and sugar, noting it was because of this that UMA had demanded that government changes tactics, among which could include retaliation against partner states that breach EAC protocol.
Yesterday, poultry farmers, under the Poultry Association of Uganda had petitioned Ms Kadaga about an ongoing ban in which Kenya has since January blocked Uganda’s meat and poultry products from entering its market.
During the meeting, Ms Kadaga told poultry dealers that Cabinet had resolved that Uganda retaliates against Kenya. Farmers had narrated months of losses with members unable to export poultry products to Kenya.
In a January 14 memo, Kenya banned all chicken, meat and egg imports, noting that the country needed to support its “producers to recover from disruptions in their livestock enterprises occasioned by Covid-19”.
“We have instructions to suspend importation of frozen chicken carcasses and cuts and chicken table eggs for human consumption. This ... is to instruct you to suspend further approval of the said importation by issuance of import veterinary certification until further notice,” Dr Obadiah N Njangi, the Director of Veterinary Services, wrote in a memo then.
The memo, in effect, banned chicken, meat and egg exports from Uganda, a suspension that has not been rescinded to date.
At the weekend, poultry farmers had also petitioned President Museveni, urging him to engage his Kenyan counterpart on a way forward.
While addressing journalists in Kampala, Mr Peter Ssenkungu, one of the association leaders, had said the ban, which was uncalled for, has deeply hurt the poultry business, noting it was time government finds a solution to the the ever recurring problem.
The ban is among a series of others that have previously been instituted on poultry and meat products over unexplained reasons. Uganda, according to the Poultry Association of Uganda, currently has a population of 17 million poultry birds.
The poultry ban
In August, Kenyan Revenue Authority wrote to all veterinary public health services in charge of all ports of entry informing them of a suspension on import approval for chicken, meat and eggs.
“While our mandate is sanitary controls of imports [or] export of animal and animal products, in order to support local producers to recover from trade disruptions in their enterprise caused by Covid-19, we have instructions to suspend poultry products from entering the country with immediate effect,” the letter reads in part.
The letter was implementing earlier instructions in January that had sought to prevent entry of poultry and meat products into Kenya.