From Gerald Andae
Ugandan sugar will now account for 43 percent of Kenya’s total imports from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).
This comes after Kenya and Uganda settled a trade dispute over the goods that has been going on for almost a year. During a meeting in Kampala attended by various officials from Uganda and Kenya, led by Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde for Uganda and Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina for Kenya, the two countries agreed that Uganda would export 90,000 tons of the goods Kenya once the country of origin verification is complete.
Kenya signed an agreement about three years ago that allowed Uganda to export its surplus sugar to the country. However, Kenya delayed implementation until the end of last year when only 20,000 tons of the 90,000 tons were allowed to be shipped into the country until the country of origin was verified.
“In terms of Kenya’s sugar export restrictions from Uganda, Uganda will export 90,000 tons of whole origin sugar annually. The results of the ongoing mission to review the sugar sector should influence the implementation of this decision, ”said the joint communiqué recently signed by Uganda and Kenya.
Kenya had prevented Uganda from exporting its sugar to the market because it was alleged that the goods would be imported and repackaged before being thrown into the country.
Uganda, however, denied the claims, finding that Kenya, which has a huge sugar deficit, was only using the apology for protectionist purposes. The review was postponed twice, worrying local producers about growing stocks.
According to the Association of Sugar Manufacturers, Uganda’s inventories have risen to 150,000 tonnes in the past two years due to blockades against the goods.
Tanzania, which prevented Uganda’s sugar from entering the market about three years ago, has yet to lift the ban.
Kenya had imported 350,000 tons of sugar from Comesa due to a major market deficit. Since then, the country has limited duty-free imports from Comesa to 210,000 tons.
According to the Kenyan Treasury Department, imports that exceed 210,163 will face 100 percent duty as the government tries to control falling sugar mill prices.
The country’s consumer sugar prices have also fallen in recent months, which the government has attributed to productivity gains.