The Uganda Cabinet has imposed a ban blocking Kenya from exporting raw and processed agricultural products in their country.
Key agricultural exports to Uganda from Kenya include palm oil at Sh7.2 billion last year, sorghum (Sh1.4 billion), vegetables (Sh311 million) and legumes (Sh200 million).
Kenya is also Uganda’s biggest trade partner. Kenya Exports to Uganda was Sh76.1 billion during 2020, while Uganda Exports to Kenya stood at Sh52.6 billion during the same period.
The ban, which Uganda had courted for two years, is seen as a reciprocal move following a similar ban by Kenya on some of her agricultural products.
“We have been too patient. In the past, we have not reciprocated, but now we are going to. This has gone on for too long and within a short time they too will understand what we are going through,” said Rebecca Kadaga, Ugandan Minister for East African Affairs.
In 2019 Kenya banned the import of Uganda’s Lato milk, which was followed by a restriction on sugar imports in 2020. Kenya has also blocked all chicken, meat and egg imports saying the move is aimed at cushioning her producers from disruptions in their livestock enterprises occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In September this year, Uganda protested a 79 percent cut on its scheduled sugar exports to Kenya following an announcement by the Sugar Directorate in Nairobi that traders will only be allowed to import 18,923 tonnes of sugar from Uganda, down from 90,000 tonnes that Kenya had earlier said would be shipped in from its landlocked neighbour.
Uganda’s Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze protested the move, saying it was about time the two countries had an honest conversation on the trade restrictions.
“We need an honest conversation about these trade restrictions from your side,” he said in a tweet to his Kenyan counterpart, Peter Munya.
The recent move by Uganda reigniteses a trade disputes between the two East African Community states.