Kenya is the latest East African Community (EAC) Member State to allow Ugandan sugar access its market after protracted negotiations by both countries.
Kenya had barred sugar imports from Uganda, arguing that most of the sugar did not originate from the East African country to benefit from regional trade protocols.
Kenya argued that sugar is imported into Uganda from outside East Africa and re-bagged for export as though it originated from Uganda.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, according to a State House statement, contacted President Uhuru Kenyatta early this month to discuss the sugar ban.
The two leaders tasked their officials to meet and agree on a workable solution to end the embargo. Kenya agreed to allow up to 90,000 tonnes of Ugandan sugar to access its market duty free annually.
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The two sides agreed that of the 90,000 tonnes, 20,000 tonnes would access the Kenyan market this month as the rest awaits clearance following a verification process.
Patrick Ocailap, Uganda’s lead negotiator, on December 22 said the country was ready to receive Kenyan officials to verify which Ugandan factories make sugar and also confirm the country's capacity to export quality sugar.
He said while briefing Museveni on the outcomes of the talks the two sides agreed that any sugar imported through Uganda from outside East Africa must pay the full taxes at Mombasa.
Ocailap noted that the new sugar trade development would spur the country’s economic growth and also further strengthen bilateral ties.
Museveni, after the brief, thanked Kenya, noting that the understanding would cement the spirit of East African integration. A similar understanding was also reached with Tanzania in April this year with Tanzania agreeing to import 20,000 tonnes of Ugandan sugar in the initial phase.
The initial consignment would be shipped by the end of May 2020, according to the Ugandan government.
Uganda said the Tanzanian deal would open up market opportunities for its sugar millers who have surplus. Uganda’s Minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde said the deal was a relief to millers who had been trying to penetrate the Tanzanian market for a long time.
Uganda’s Trade ministry figures show that the country has 11 sugar mills producing 510,000 tonnes and the consumption is 360,000 tonnes per annum. The surplus is sufficient for export.