Kenya cuts sugar import quota for Uganda by 79 percent

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Kenya cuts sugar import quota for Uganda by 79 percent

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Sugar imports. FILE PHOTO | NMG

general indandae

BY GERALD ANDAE
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summary

  • Kenya has cut sugar imports from Uganda by 79 percent, which is likely to escalate the ongoing trade dispute between Nairobi and Kampala.
  • The Sugar Directorate said this week that traders are only allowed to import 18,923 tons of sugar from Uganda, down from 90,000 tons.

Kenya has cut sugar imports from Uganda by 79 percent, which is likely to escalate the ongoing trade dispute between Nairobi and Kampala.

The Sugar Directorate said this week that traders are only allowed to import 18,923 tons of sugar from Uganda, up from 90,000 tons that Kenya had previously shipped from its inland neighbor.

Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and her Ugandan counterpart agreed in April that Uganda would be allowed to export 90,000 tonnes of sugar to Kenya once the control mission to the country of origin was completed.

In the revised quota released this week, countries from southern Africa will account for the largest share of imports in the Common Market window for eastern and southern Africa (Comesa).

This means that eSwatini will be the leader with 68,959 tons, followed by Zambia with 41,152 tons and Mauritius with 36,036 tons.

“With regard to Kenya’s sugar export restrictions from Uganda, Uganda will export 90,000 tons of originating sugar annually. The results of the ongoing sugar sector review mission will feed into the implementation of this decision, ”ministers said in April.

If Uganda had been allowed to import 90,000 tons, this would make up 43 percent of Kenya’s total imports from the Comesa region.

Kenya had signed an agreement with Uganda three years ago that allowed Kampala to export surplus sugar to the country, but Nairobi delayed implementation until late last year when the neighboring state was allowed to ship 20,000 tonnes of the 90,000 tonnes surplus it had requested.

Kenya has argued with Uganda over sugar imports, with local producers arguing that the goods come from third countries’ inland neighbors.

Last month Uganda protested against Kenya’s delay in abolishing the seven percent levy on milk imports following recent bilateral talks aimed at resolving the stalemate.

In a July 19 letter, Uganda’s Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Minister Frank Tumwebaze urged Kenya and Tanzania to allow Ugandan milk into their markets following a flawed strategy of gentle diplomacy.

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