Kenya has joined the list of East African Community (EAC) Member State who have opened their markets to Ugandan sugar after protracted negotiations by both countries.
Kenya had earlier banned the importation of sugar from Uganda, arguing that most of Uganda’s sugar did not originate from the country to benefit from regional trade protocols.
Kenya argues that Uganda imports sugar from outside East Africa and re-bags for export as though it originates from the country.
According to a State House statement, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda early this month contacted the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, to discuss the sugar ban.
Both East African leaders saddled their officials with the responsibility of working out solutions to end the embargo. Kenya agreed to allow up to 90,000 tonnes of Ugandan sugar to access its market duty free annually.
Both countries agreed that out of the 90,000 tonnes, 20,000 would access the Kenyan market this month as the rest waits for clearance following a proper verification process.
On December 22, Uganda’s lead negotiator Patrick Ocailap, said the country was ready to receive Kenyan officials to verify which factories in Uganda make sugar and to also confirm the country’s capacity to export quality sugar.
While briefing Museveni on the outcomes of the talks, Ocailap said both sides agreed that any sugar imported through Uganda from outside The East African Community must pay the full taxes at Mombasa.
He noted that the new sugar trade development would further improve the country’s economic growth and also further strengthen bilateral ties.
After the brief, Museveni expressed appreciation to Kenya, noting that this understanding would strengthen the spirit of East African integration.
In April this year, Uganda reached a similar understanding with Tanzania, where Tanzania agreed to import 20,000 tonnes of Ugandan sugar in the initial phase.
Figures from Uganda’s Trade ministry show that the country has 11 sugar mills producing 510,000 tonnes and the consumption is 360,000 tonnes per annum, with the surplus being enough for export.
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