Tanzania is yet again on the spot for failing to ratify an East African Community (EAC) treaty that allows regional countries to allow the sharing of veterinary services.
The Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) for East African Vets -- a pact that makes it possible for any EAC country to import poultry or livestock, as long as they have been tested by a veterinary professional from any of the signatory countries -- has been shunned by Tanzania.
As a result, Tanzania cannot import poultry or livestock from Kenya or any EAC country, unless a Tanzanian vet alone has tested them.
This comes at a time when Dar-es-Salaam is facing a severe shortage of chicken, that has seen retail prices for chicken rise by nearly 40 per cent in the last three months, according to a survey by one of Tanzania’s daily newspapers.
The agreement that came into force in 2016, has been ratified by Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda.
Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda specifically have been termed as 'the coalition of the willing', having ratified many EAC agreements, with Tanzania being seen as a reluctant partner in the EAC.
Tanzania has faced accusations of not doing enough to strengthen the EAC Common Market.
The Common Market guides the free movement of goods, people, labour, services and capital from one EAC partner state to another.
MRAs are internationally recognised agreements, most commonly applied to goods and services, where partnering countries agree to recognise one another's conformity assessments, thus abolishing the need for duplicate authorisation processes.
The EAC has enormous animal resources which contribute significantly to the economy of the region.
The Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA) chairman Samuel Kahariri says hostility has kept Tanzania from signing this agreement that is very important for regional economies.
"Regulators of veterinary services in the EAC met in 2016 to conclude negotiations of this agreement. It was meant to facilitate general movement of veterinary services across the region harmoniously,” Dr Kahariri said in a phone interview.
"Unfortunately and without a core reason, Tanzania has remained opposed to it. Trading on poultry and livestock with Tanzania is now extremely difficult," he added.
In November last year, Kenyan authorities were furious after Tanzania police burnt 6,400 one-day-old chicks from Kenya, on suspicion that they could spread bird flu.
The day-old chicks were intercepted at Namanga border.
The Tanzanians soaked the chicks in petrol before setting them ablaze, a brutal method of killing the birds. Kenyan authorities protested that there was a more humane way of dealing with the chicks instead of burning them alive.
That was not the only spat concerning poultry and livestock that Tanzania has had with Kenya.
Earlier, Tanzanian authorities had seized and auctioned 1,300 cattle belonging to Maasais from Kenya.