Kenya delays trade mission to Uganda to resolve sugar and milk standoff

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By GERALD ANDAE

Kenya has postponed a trade mission to Uganda to resolve the sugar and milk import standoff until December, amid concerns over whether the two countries are ready to find a lasting solution to the standoff.

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

Officials are due to visit Uganda in a bid to resolve the standoff between Nairobi and Kampala over milk and sugar exports to Kenya.

The visit aims to verify claims that sugar and milk imported from the landlocked neighbor come from third countries – a claim Kampala denies.

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

Uganda last month invited Kenya’s agriculture and trade ministerial teams to Kampala for a dialogue to break the deadlock.

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

Over the past year, Kenya and Uganda have been embroiled in serious disputes over several commodities, including sugar, milk and poultry products.

The trade delegation to Kampala comes at a time when Uganda has been granted access to the Zambian market, offering them an alternative for their staple product.

The Pearl Dairies, makers of Lato milk, secured Zambia’s annual milk supply after the company suffered significant losses when Kenya stopped exporting its produce in 2019.

The company is the largest milk processor in Uganda with a daily capacity of 800,000 litres. His brand was popular in Kenya and sold at a lower cost compared to local brands.

Zambia blocked access of Kenyan milk to its market 13 years ago for standard issues and Nairobi, through its High Commission office in Lusaka, has struggled over the years to access this market in vain.

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