Kenya has suspended a recent ban on the importation of milk powder into the country “to allow for the Dairy Industry (Import and Export) Regulations 2021 to apply accordingly”.
The Kenya Dairy Board had on March 6 announced an indefinite suspension of milk powder imports in move seen as protecting processors and farmers from lower prices since the milk powder imports could lead to a glut in the market since the anticipated seasonal rains are expected to significantly boost local milk production and reduce the need for imports.
But in a statement dated March 14, 2023, Kenya’s Agriculture and Livestock Development Permanent Secretary Harry Kimtai announced the suspension of the ban on the milk powder imports.
"Take note that the importation of products under the East African Community (EAC) protocol refers to good being imported from outside the East African Community, while good traded within the EAC are referred to as transfers,” Mr Kimtai said.
Uganda, which sells milk products to Kenya, welcomed the new announcement.
“I am delighted to inform the dairy industry in Uganda that the ban [by Kenya] on milk products has been suspended. I have also had fruitful discussions with Mr Abdi Dubat, Permanent Secretary in Kneya’s Ministry of East African Community on bilateral issues,” said Ms Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs.
The announcement suspending milk powder imports to Kenya had dampened hopes raised by President William Ruto when he took power and announced that cheap milk imports from Uganda would be allowed and that the Kenyan milk would be processed for the international market.
Kenya has been the leading buyer of Uganda’s milk products, although the trade relations have not been good due to several barriers, prompting Uganda to search for new markets for its milk and milk products.
According to Uganda’s Dairy Development Authority, the country has established new markets for its milk, which include the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Zambia and Algeria. Others are United Arab Emirates, Syria, Japan, Oman, USA, Nepal and Bangladesh.
During his recent three-day official visit to Algeria, President Yoweri Museveni reportedly made a breakthrough in finding a market for Uganda’s milk.
It is reported that Algeria agreed to buy Uganda's powdered milk in the several agreements and memorandums of understanding signed between the two countries.
“We discussed issues on growing the prosperity of Africa, agreed to work together in the areas of trade, energy, education, agriculture and counter-terrorism where they have experience in this, just like us,” said Museveni.
“We are looking at powdered milk which is already coming here,” said Museveni while in the Algerian capital Algiers.
Museveni said Algeria will be buying milk worth $500 million and, according to Uganda’s Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze, the country is no longer worried about the market, but will now focus on perfecting the standards.