Kenya and Uganda are set to begin trade talks aimed at resolving the outstanding issues on milk importation between the two East African countries in March after many false attempts.
Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Livestock Harry Kimtai who is the head of the Kenyan delegation, said Nairobi has already communicated to Kampala, through its foreign affairs office and they were reviewing the guidelines issued by Uganda.
“We have agreed with Uganda that we will visit the country next month for a verification mission that will help us resolve the outstanding issues on milk once and for all,” Harry Kimtai.
The meeting by the Kenya delegation to Uganda has been postponed four times in the past year, delaying the resumption of normal trade on dairy products between the two countries. The latest meeting by the Kenya’s delegation was supposed to be held on January 25, 2022.
However, the letter which was sent through the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade was received late, prompting Kenya to seek an alternative date to give room for preparations that involve bringing together various experts.
Officials in the team will include trade experts, Customs officials and food scientists.
Kenya averted the ban on the export of its agricultural produce to Uganda after Nairobi agreed to lift restrictions on imports of poultry products from the neighbouring country at the end of last year.
The bilateral talks in December discussed and resolved trade issues touching on poultry, eggs, sugar and fish.
However Harry Kimtai noted that they still want to ascertain that the milk that comes from Uganda is produced by local farmers, following allegations that the product is imported from third-party countries as powder and reconstituted before it is exported as fresh.
The Ugandan Cabinet had in mid-December directed the Agriculture ministry to identify and list Kenyan products that would be banned by Kampala “in a short time,” forcing Nairobi to move with speed in addressing the impasse to safeguard the Ugandan exports.
The two countries also agreed to resolve the circumstances surrounding the interception of fish in transit from Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The two countries have had trade disputes running for years now after Kenya confiscated milk from Uganda and banned the imports of the commodity.