43% of Kenya’s sugar imports to be sourced from Uganda

Monday April 26 2021

Uganda has since last year been negotiating with Kenya to lift a blockade on the country’s sugar exports. PHOTO | FILE

By Gerald Andae

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).

This comes aft er Kenya and Uganda ironed out a trade dispute over the commodity that has lasted close to a year now. During a meeting held in Kampala, which was attended by different officials from Uganda and Kenya, led by Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde on the side of Uganda and Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina on the side of Kenya, the two countries agreed that Uganda will export 90,000 tonnes of the commodity to Kenya as soon as the verification exercise on country of origin is completed.

Kenya entered into a deal in which it allowed Uganda to export its surplus sugar into the country about three years ago. However, Kenya delayed the implementation until late last year when only 20,000 tonnes of the 90,000 tonnes were allowed to be shipped into the country pending verification of the country of origin.

“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,” joint communiqué signed by both Uganda and Kenya said recently.

Kenya had stopped Uganda from exporting its sugar to its market on claims that the commodity was being imported and repackaged before being dumped in the country.

However, Uganda dismissed the claims, noting Kenya, which has a huge sugar deficit, was only using the excuse for protectionist purposes. The verification exercise had been postponed twice, which had worried local producers amid growing stockpiles.


Uganda, according to the Association of Sugar Manufacturers, has seen stockpiles grow, peaking to 150,000 tonnes in the last two years due to blockades imposed on the commodity.

Tanzania, which stopped Uganda’s sugar from entering its market about three years ago, is yet to lift the ban.

Kenya had been importing 350,000 tonnes of sugar from Comesa due to a widened deficit in its market. However, the country has since capped the duty free imports from Comesa to 210,000 tonnes.

According to Kenya’s Treasury, imports that will exceed 210,163 will attract 100 per cent duty as the government seeks to control the falling prices of sugar millers.

The country’s consumer sugar prices have also been falling in the last couple of months in what the government has attributed to increased productivity.