From the East Africans
Trade relations between Kenya and Uganda are on the verge of renewed strain. Kampala accuses Nairobi of preventing its milk from entering the country and threatens to take the matter to the East African court of law.
Ugandan Minister of State for East African Affairs Julius Maganda said his country is not ruling out taking Kenya to the regional court over the continued trade blockade of many of its agricultural products.
Kenya had trade-related tensions with its inland neighbor last year, particularly over dairy products, where Nairobi confiscated hundreds of tons of Lato milk from Uganda in 2020.
“We have asked the Attorney General to refer the matter to the community economic council while we await what will emerge from the summit scheduled for February 26th and 26th. However, if all options fail, we consider going to court. Maganda was quoted by Uganda’s media.
The Ugandan Parliament has also raised the issue of Kenya blocking its products for the past three years, pointing out that it is unfair but (Uganda) is acting as a ‘supermarket’ for goods made in Kenya.
Uganda’s spokeswoman Rebecca Kadaga urged stakeholders in the Ugandan dairy sector to consider legal action if diplomatic channels fail.
“I am concerned about the inability to exercise the principle of reciprocity. The Ugandan government has acted slowly, but the farmers are suffering and they are doing nothing about their suffering, ”Ms. Kadaga was quoted by the media as saying.
This comes at a time when Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Peter Munya has announced stricter measures to control milk imports from Uganda.
Mr Munya said he has drawn attention to unscrupulous traders who illegally import dairy products through the porous border points near Lodwar, Kacheliba and Ororo, and others who deal in illegal imports in Mombasa and Eastleigh.
The CS said the current good milk prices that farmers are enjoying are the result of controlling cheap imports into the country.
Kenyan farmers last year expressed concern about the influx of cheap Ugandan milk into the country, with the price of a liter of milk falling to a low of Sh19. Prices have rallied so far with the same amount for over Sh35.