Kenya and Uganda are set to take another stab at easing trade tensions between them amid jitters on whether the two countries would find a lasting breakthrough.
Officials from Kenya are scheduled to visit Uganda next month to verify claims that sugar and milk imported from the landlocked neighbour originates from third-party countries -- a claim Kampala denies.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai said the officials have settled for a November date after the initials plan was hampered by the third wave of Covid-19 in Uganda.
“We have been exchanging some correspondence with Uganda and we have agreed that we shall be going there next month for a fact-finding mission,” he said.
Uganda last week invited Kenya’s Agriculture and Trade ministerial teams to Kampala for dialogue to clear the stalemate.
Ugandan High Commissioner to Kenya and the Seychelles Hassan Wasswa Galiwango last week in Nairobi extended an invite to Kenya’s delegation.
“Uganda is supposed to export milk to Kenya but there is a problem that will be resolved soon. We have invited the government of Kenya to send a delegation to inspect Uganda milk factories, to ascertain Uganda’s capacity to produce [exportable] excess,” she said last week during Uganda’s Week in Nairobi.
Kenya and Uganda have in the past year been embroiled in serious feuds of several products including sugar, milk, and poultry products.
Only last month, Uganda protested a 79 percent cut on its scheduled sugar exports to Kenya. This was after the Sugar Directorate in Nairobi said that traders will only be allowed to import 18,923 tonnes of sugar from Uganda, down from 90,000 tonnes that Kenya had earlier said would be shipped in.
Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and her Ugandan counterpart had in April agreed that Uganda would export 90,000 tonnes of sugar to Kenya as soon as the verification mission on the country of origin was completed.
A deal between the two countries allowed Uganda to export surplus sugar into the country three years ago. But Nairobi delayed the implementation until late last year.