Ugandans and Kenyans especially those involved in farming can now sigh with some relief ahead of Christmas after the two countries’ governments agreed to lift the barriers on the importation of foodstuffs and in particular poultry and poultry products.
Earlier this year, the Kenyan authorities imposed a deliberate embargo on the Uganda poultry products from her market, aiming to protect and accelerate economic recovery from the devastating impact of the global pandemic, Covid-19.
The ban took effect in June this year, consequently affecting thousands of the poultry sector players, especially the farmers and traders in the supply chain.
The affected category petitioned their respective Governments to resolve on the barrier.
Following strategic and protracted dialogues brokered by the East African Affairs Ministry, Ugandan delegation was led by Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries on Tuesday this week, held talks with Peter Munya, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries in Nairobi and agreed to restore good trading relations.
“Both parties agreed to immediately remove any administrative measures that have hitherto inhibited trade in the poultry and poultry products,” a joint communiqué signed by the two Ministers read in part.
Following incidences of interception of fish on transit from Kenya to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, both parties agreed that the two countries establish a team of key stakeholders including the Revenue and Fisheries Authorities to work out on a transit mechanism for fish.
“Both parties also agreed to jointly work together to address the challenges of harvesting immature fish in Lake Victoria,” the communiqué further read.
The duo also noted that the presence of domestic levies maintained by both countries contravened the East Africa Community (EAC) Customs Union Protocol, and recalled their commitment to remove the tariffs during the April 2021 bilateral trade summit in Kampala.
They gave themselves a timeline to remove the barriers immediately and in any case not later than 1st July 2022.
The Ministers also agreed to continue co-operating on matters relating to trade in sugar and milk products, including streamlining issuance of sure import permits.
They agreed that Kenya undertakes authentication of Uganda’s Dairy sector during the last week of January 2022.
Responding to the development, Roy Martin Lukwago, a poultry farmer emphasized that the ban was not making sense to anybody but was causing tremendous loss of revenue and livelihood to the affected sector players.
John Bansangwa, another farmer from Kamuli says poultry has suffered double tragedies; firstly as a result of the extended impact of Covid-19 lockdown and lack of incentives to support its growth and urged Government to extend credit facility to salvage the poultry industry players.
The economies of the two African Great Lakes countries are undeniably interdependent as Kenya is Uganda’s top trading partner in Africa.
Over the last two-decade, Ugandan exports to Kenya have steadily increased from 56.7 billion Uganda Shillings in 1995 to about one trillion million in 2019 — largely due to increased exports of maize, milk, and sugar.
Likewise, data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics KNBS indicates that Uganda is Kenya’s leading export destination in Africa, accounting for 28.6 percent of Kenya’s total exports on the continent in 2019.
Key Kenyan exports to Uganda include refined petroleum, palm oil, iron, and salt. Kenya gets cheap iron ore from Kigezi in South Western Uganda and transports it home all the way across Uganda for smelting, before selling the processed iron to Uganda.