After Kenya has banned milk, sugar and chicken imports from Uganda for the past few years, Uganda is hitting back and will be banning certain Kenyan raw and processed agricultural products from its market.
The Ugandan Cabinet agreed on this almost two-year proposal on Monday, despite president Yoweri Museveni’s repeated opposition.
Cabinet asked the agriculture ministry to identify and list Kenyan items that will be prohibited by the Ugandan government within “a short period”, according to Rebecca Kadaga, the country’s minister for East African Affairs.
“We’ve been waiting too long. We have not reciprocated in the past, but we will now. This has been going on for far too long, and they will comprehend what we are going through in no time,” Kadaga told the reporters on Tuesday morning.
The initial bans by Kenya
Kenya banned importing Ugandan milk, mainly the Lato brand, in December 2019, sparking the latest conflicts between the two East African Community (EAC) partner nations.
Kenya then imposed an embargo on Ugandan sugar in July 2020, despite a previous agreement to expand Uganda’s sugar shipments to Kenya.
Players in Uganda’s poultry business also petitioned their government this week over Kenya’s nearly year-long ban on Ugandan chicken goods on their market.
Kenya claims that some of the items are of poor quality and that it is defending its home market.
Nairobi postponed a trade delegation to Uganda in November to settle the sugar and milk import deadlock, citing concerns about the two nations’ readiness to find a long-term solution to the impasse.
Kenya is Uganda’s most important trading partner. Kenyan exports to Uganda totaled $673.66 million in 2020, while Ugandan exports to Kenya totaled $465.55 million during the same time period.
Observers say the trade dispute between the two EAC nations might have long-term ramifications for East African imports and exports, and that the limitations violate the single market’s Customs Union Protocol.