MPs: Uhuru-Museveni trade pact spells doom for Agricultural sector

Members of Parliament who sit on the National Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, Wednesday demanded details of the trade agreement that President Uhuru Kenyatta signed with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni.

The deal on Uganda’s sugar exports to Kenya in exchange for dairy and beef products has rattled the lawmakers, many of them from the country’s sugar belt, who said it was likely to kill struggling local millers, and consign sugarcane farmers to poverty.

The MPs said the little information in the public domain about the deal spelled doom for the region, and asked President Kenyatta to “cancel the deal” in public interest.

Addressing a news conference at Parliament Buildings, MPs Florence Mutua (Busia), Fred Outa (Nyando), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) and Fatuma Ibrahim (Wajir) said the deal was likely to open doors for barons to smuggle sugar imported from elsewhere in the world into Kenya.

Bilateral deals

The lawmakers agreed that while they were criticising the deal, they hadn’t seen it. The law requires Parliament to approve or be informed on all bilateral deals or treaties that the Government signs with foreign entities.

They said if the deal exists as reported, then it will just be among many where Kenya has been “short-changed” because of “poor negotiators and corruption, and willingness to allow local politics to colour Kenya’s international politics”.

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Meanwhile, Nzoia Sugar Company Board Chairman Joash Wamang’oli has downplayed fears that allowing sugar imports from Uganda into Kenya will kill the local industry.

Speaking to The Standard Wednesday, Mr Wamang’oli asked Opposition leaders to stop politicising the issue, noting that it will in no way kill the potential of local sugar industries, which has been trying to stay afloat.

On Tuesday, Coalition for Reforms and Democracy leader Raila Odinga questioned the rationale behind the pact that will allow sugar from Uganda to be sold on the local market.

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sugar exportsUhuru KenyattaYoweri Museveni