Kenya Reinstates Ban On Ugandan Milk Products Shortly After Lifting It

Kenya Reinstates Ban On Ugandan Milk Products Shortly After Lifting It

The Government of Kenya has reinstated a ban on Ugandan milk products citing a projected oversupply of milk during the coming long rainy season.

This was confirmed by the Kenya Dairy Board managing director, Margret Kibyogy on Monday this week saying that Kenya suspending all importation of powdered milk.

”The ban is intended to cushion the industry from surplus production and low producer prices” she said.

“Consequently, the Board has temporarily suspended the issuance of these import permits until further notice. We will however continue to monitor the production and demand for milk and milk products in the country and advise the Government accordingly,” she added.

It’s worth noting that Kenyan President William Ruto lifted the ban on Ugandan agricultural produce such as milk, eggs and chicken in early February this year following a bilateral meeting between Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan Trade Minister Moses Kuria in Kampala in late January.

The meeting between Kuria and Museveni was held to discuss ways on improving trade relations between the two neighbours. Former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration slapped the ban on the products in 2021.

“As we move towards the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement and the merger of EAC, COMESA and SADC, Kenya and Uganda will walk that journey together and ultimately into AfCFTA,” Kuria said after meeting Museveni, referring to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Museveni thanked his counterpart Ruto for reversing the ban, which had led to a trade dispute and reduced the volume of transactions between the two countries, even though historically Uganda has been Kenya’s biggest trade partner in the region.

“I thank Ruto for opening the [Kenyan] market for our milk, eggs and chicken, among others,” President Museveni said on Twitter after meeting Kuria.

According to statistics published by Kenya’s Central Bank in September, Kenya’s exports to Uganda dropped by 8.5% to KSh46.77bn ($386.3m) during the first half of 2022 compared to a similar period in 2021.

The Kenyan president cited the East African Community Common Market protocol that has been in place since 2010, guaranteeing the movement of goods and services without impediment.

Ruto had spoken earlier about lifting the ban in a speech he gave at Uganda’s Independence Day celebrations in Kampala as the guest of honour in October, just a few weeks after taking power, reiterating what he told business leaders in Nairobi.

“If there is food in Uganda, it should find its way to Kenya, we should be adding value (to our milk), producing butter, and powder for sale in the DRC, Central Africa and West Africa and we import cheaper milk from Uganda for our consumption,” said Ruto.

“Why should we quarrel with Uganda? It is because we have refused to take our rightful place in our continent. We should have taken action earlier but allowed Uganda to occupy this space. We must (therefore) have a different conversation.” he added.

Trade hostilities between the two neighbours began in late 2019 when the Kenyatta government stopped importing Ugandan milk. A large shipment of the Ugandan Lato brand, popular with Kenyan consumers, was confiscated after Nairobi said it was substandard. This was also in part a way to protect the domestic market, according to the Kenyatta administration.

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