Uganda goes bare-knuckle on Kenya, threatens to ban its products over sugar row

Saturday, September 4th, 2021 11:35 | By
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni (Right). Photo: Courtesy

A trade war between Kenya and Uganda is brewing after the latter accused President Uhuru Kenyatta-led government of blocking its goods into the country.

This comes after Uganda's Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze tweeted a thread on Wednesday, September 1, accusing Kenya of imposing unnecessary trade restrictions on its product.

According to Tumwezebe, who tagged Kenya's Agriculture CS on his tweets, Ugandans are not happy after Kenya refused to import its sugar, a move that is likely to dent relations between the two East African countries.

"Comrade Hon @PeterMunya we need an honest conversation about these trade restrictions from ur side. Wauganda hawafurahi! Don't make this whole idea of @jumuiya doubtable," Tumwazebe tweeted.

The Ugandan minister stated that it is illogical for Kenyans to stop importing sugar from Uganda when their demand is still high.

He adds that Uganda is disappointed with Kenya for importing hundreds of thousands of tones from other nations while blocking Ugandan sugar from accessing Kenyan markets.

He further threatened to take action against Kenyan products in reciprocation.

"Kenya imports about 450,000 tonnes of sugar. If your sugar board (trade police) allowed Uganda to export to Kenya it's 150,000 tonnes still your sugar import demand would remain unmet.

"So nothing explains the restrictions on Uganda. Should we also start a board to restrict/give permits to Kenyan margarine & plastics? Yes, we could check on their standards too!" he dared.

CS Munya is yet to respond to his tweets directly but a day after Tumwazebe argued his case, Munya tweeted that he is focused on bringing reforms in the sugar sector.

According to the CS, Kenya has witnessed a significant growth of 40 per cent in sugar production since 2019, thanks to the stabilization of prices.

"Fact: Since the stabilization of prices for sugarcane, the production of sugar by farmers in the Kenyan sugar belt has gone up 40% since 2019. Farmers have done their part and my Ministry is working hard to pushing the sugar reforms," he said.

He at the same time raised concerns over several cases pending in courts that are hindering the implementation of sugar reforms. CS Munya, however, urged stakeholders to do their part in facilitating farmers and the industry in enabling the growth of the industry

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