Museveni adds voice to Uganda’s push for full trade access to Kenya

Thursday November 27 2014

President Yoweri Museveni. The President sided with Ugandan businessmen accusing Kenya of blocking their products from accessing the Kenyan market. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Yoweri Museveni Wednesday sided with Uganda businessmen accusing Kenya of blocking their products from accessing the Kenyan market.

Addressing the public during the launch of Hudani Manji Ltd, a chicken farm plant in Semuto Nakaseke District, about 50km from Kampala, President Museveni said refusal by Kenyan officials to allow Uganda goods into the country was in contravention of the East Africa Community protocol.
He said he would petition President Uhuru Kenyatta on the issue. 

“We buy a lot of goods from Kenya. Some of those Kenya officials are ‘narrow-minded’. They wanted to block our sugar. Now they have gone for our chicken. If I say no more Kenya products to Uganda, they will be forced to buy,” President Museveni said.

“I shall sort it out with President Uhuru Kenyatta,” he added.

Two weeks ago, the Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association accused Kenya of selectively blocking export of sugar, demanding full access to the market.

“…sugar from other countries in SADC and Comesa who are not in the East African Community enters Kenya with ease. The Uganda sugar industry would want to know why,” Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association chairman Jim Kabeho was quoted saying.


READ: Kenya, Uganda sugar row tests spirit of integration

President Museveni reacted after Hudani Manji Ltd chairman Alykhan Hudani complained of Kenya Revenue Authority officials blocking his firm from exporting chicken to Kenya.

“Most of our chicks are imported from Kenya, they feed on Uganda-made feed, but they do not allow us to export to Kenya. We have invested a lot of money and there is also some potential market in South Sudan. I [have previously] urged the government to negotiate on our behalf to access these markets,” Mr Hudani said.

Uganda was until February this year Kenya’s largest export market.

However, by July 2014, Tanzania had edged past Uganda as Kenya’s largest export market in East Africa due to ongoing elimination of non-tariff barriers and increasing local production in Uganda of goods that were previously imported.

READ: Tanzania edges Uganda as Kenya’s biggest market

Uganda has traditionally been Kenya’s top trading partner in the region, but recent data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics rank the country third, with Tanzania coming second.

Uganda was overtaken by the US in June as the leading export destination for Kenyan goods.

The report showed that the US imported goods from Kenya worth Sh3.7 billion ($41.8 million) in June, followed by Tanzania at Sh2.8 billion ($31.6 million) and Uganda at Sh2.5 billion ($28.3 million).

“We broke ground in November 2011 and 18 months later, the integrated operation consisting of a broiler farm, feed mill and abattoir was commissioned,” Mr Hudani noted.

He added: “In the next three years, we hope to open three more firms for us to realise profits.”

Mr Hudani said they decided to invest in poultry industry because of high local demand and lack of reliable supply. “The sector consists of small suppliers with unreliable supply chains that frustrate both wholesale and retail customers,” he said.

About 300 jobs have been created since the chicken plant was established.