Monday, November 29, 2021
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Countries at a stand-off over milk and sugar supplies

Kenya and Uganda are involved in a stand-off after claims the latter has been supplying milk and sugar to the former from third-party countries.

The row has lead to an impasse, with Kenya postponing a planned meeting with Ugandan officials to discuss the issues.

The Kenyan trade mission will not now take place until next month at the earliest.

Kenya’s Principal Secretary for the State Department of Livestock Harry Kimtai said the November meeting had been cancelled as his country’s dairy board was not ready.

It had been hoped the now delayed meeting could have brought an end to the standoff between Nairobi and Kampala over milk and sugar exports.

Uganda has denied the claims that it is supplying the products to Kenya after itself importing them from elsewhere.

“The dairy board was not ready and we have had to push this meeting to December,” said Mr Kimtai in an interview with the Kenyan Business Daily.

Uganda had issued the invitation to Kenya’s Agriculture and Trade ministerial teams last month to come to Kampala for talks to clear the air.

Ugandan High Commissioner to Kenya and the Seychelles, Hassan Wasswa Galiwango, said: “Uganda is supposed to export milk to Kenya but there is a problem that will be resolved soon.

“We have invited the government of Kenya to send a delegation to inspect Uganda milk factories, to ascertain Uganda’s capacity to produce excess.”

The row is the latest in a series of disputes between the two neighbours which, in addition to milk and sugar, has involved poultry products.

This latest setback in the long-running disagreement comes as Uganda has opened a new market for its milk in Zambia.

Mr Tumwebaze, unveiling the new export destination, challenged other countries to test the quality of Ugandan milk.

The new deal is with Uganda’s Pearl Diaries, one of the largest milk producers in the country. Its output, however, was banned by Kenya in 2019.

The minister said the trade wars in the region were being waged without evidence. Uganda, he said, followed international standards.

Dr Anna Rose Ademun Okurut, Commissioner for Animal Health and Chief Veterinary Officer in Uganda, was instrumental in securing the sale of 50 tonnes of powdered milk to Zambia.

She said: “I believe that the more market we have for animal products the more likely are farmers to look at farming as a business and animal disease control will become automatic and self-driven.”

Peal Diaries produced 800,000 litres of milk daily and is supplied by 100,000 farmers from the region.

According to the Ugandan Dairy Development Authority, milk production in the country has increased from 2.5 billion litres in 2018 to 2.8 billion litres in 2020.

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