Uganda has invited Kenya’s Agriculture and Trade ministerial teams to Kampala for dialogue in an overture to clear the trade tiff over Ugandan milk imports to Kenya.
Two months ago, Kenya slapped a seven percent levy on milk imports from Uganda, further straining relations between the two EAC countries.
Ugandan High Commissioner to Kenya and the Seychelles Dr Hassan Wasswa Galiwango while extending the invite said; “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.”
Mr Galiwango was speaking in Nairobi on Friday during the Uganda Week in Kenya in commemoration of Uganda’s 59 years of Independence.
“There has been suspicion that the milk exported to Kenya does not come from Uganda and that it is imported powder then turned into milk.
‘‘I assure you that Uganda has a lot of dairy animals. We produce more than enough for local consumption.”
The dispute has been ongoing since July when Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries Frank Tumwebaze asked Kenya and Tanzania to allow Ugandan milk into their markets but due to Covid-19 effects, no meeting has been held between the countries.
Kenya’s Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai said they had been ready to visit Uganda on a verification mission but the latter was struck by the third wave of Covid-19, hence the delay.
“We are also experiencing similar challenges in exporting sugar.
‘‘We invite the countries to meet and resolve these issues,” Mr Galiwango added.
He called on the neighbours to adhere to the EAC Common Market protocols that allow for free movement of goods and services, including sugar.
The Uganda Week (October 4-9) in Kenya was a hybrid event, with both virtual and physical segments, making it easy for participants to follow the programme.
This year’s theme was “Securing Uganda’s future through the promotion of Tourism and Education for Economic Development.”
The highlight was a two-day exhibition of Ugandan products on Friday and Saturday, with special focus on the promotion of education and tourism.
The week’s events were jointly organised by the Uganda Missions in Kenya, with support from the Ugandan diaspora in Nairobi.