Kenya delays trade mission to Uganda to resolve sugar, milk row

Kenya has continued to lock out Uganda’s sugar and milk out of its markets without proper explanation. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Uganda had last month invited Kenya’s Agriculture and Trade ministerial teams to dialogue with the desire of finding a clear solution to the stalemate.

Kenya has postponed a trade mission to Uganda in which the two countries had sought to resolve the sugar and milk import standoff until December. 

This is the third time Kenya is postponing the matter that has raised questions on whether the two countries are ready to find a lasting solution to the impasse.

Kenya’s Principal Secretary State Department of Livestock, Harry Kimtai, said the November meeting will not take place as planned because the Kenya Dairy Board was not ready.

A delegation is instead expected to come to Uganda in December in a bid to resolve the standoff between over milk and sugar exports to Kenya.

The visit seeks to verify claims that sugar and milk imported from the Uganda originates from third-party countries -- a claim Uganda denies.

“The dairy board was not ready and we have had to push this meeting to December,” said Mr Kimtai in an interview with the Business Daily.

Uganda had last month invited Kenya’s Agriculture and Trade ministerial teams to dialogue with the desire of finding a clear solution to the stalemate.

Ugandan High Commissioner to Kenya and the Seychelles, Hassan Wasswa Galiwango, said in Nairobi last month: “Uganda is supposed to export milk to Kenya but there is a problem that will be resolved soon. We have invited the government of Kenya to send a delegation to inspect Uganda milk factories, to ascertain Uganda’s capacity to produce [exportable] excess.”

Kenya and Uganda have in the past  two years been embroiled in feuds over several products including sugar, milk, and poultry products.

The delay to resolve the impasse comes at a time when Uganda has been allowed to access the Zambian market, offering an alternative the country’s commodity.

The Pearl Dairies, makers of Lato milk, secured annual supplies of milk to Zambia after the company suffered major losses when Kenya stopped exports of its products in 2019.
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 when compared with the local ones.

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