Uganda’s dairy sector has been slapped with restrictions on the export of powder milk to Kenya. FILE PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH
Uganda’s dairy sector has been slapped with restrictions on the export of powder milk to Kenya even after a lift on a ban that had earlier been issued by the regulator, hitting hard major players such as Brookside.
Mr Benson Mwangi, general manager of Brookside’s operation in Uganda, is quoted by the Daily Monitor saying their powder milk is being denied export permits by the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) with other products that get licenses being delayed from getting to the market.
“We continue to grapple with non-issuance and sometimes delays of issuance of export permits by the Kenya Dairy Board,” Mr Mwangi is quoted by the publication.
The Dairy Development Authority (DDA) of Uganda has confirmed that Kenyan authorities are not issuing export permits for Uganda’s powder milk.
Mr Samson Akankiza, executive director of DDA said Kenya could be using this to protect the local market, pointing out that they have seen a reduction in the export of powder milk despite the country having lifted an earlier ban that had been put in place by KDB.
“Other products are getting permits except for milk powder but the market is still open and Uganda milk players are exporting products there,” said Mr Akankiza.
The restriction on imports points to conflicting instructions that had earlier been issued on the importation of powdered milk into the country.
KDB –the regulator of dairy products in Kenya— had in March banned the import of the commodity but the decision was later reversed by the Department of Livestock.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai suspended the notice issued by the Kenya Dairy Board within days of the regulator banning importation of the powder milk into the country.
In a letter to the KDB managing director Margret Kibogy dated March 14, Mr Kimtai said the letter communicating the ban by the milk regulator had been suspended.
“The stoppage issued through Kenya Dairy Board letter ref: KDB/MD/SED/1 dated March 6, 2023 is hereby suspended to allow the Dairy Industry (Import and Export) Regulations 2021 to apply accordingly,” said Mr Kimtai then.
In her response to queries from Business Daily, Ms Kibogy said there were no issues between the two countries. “The trade between the two countries is smooth,” she responded in a text message.
The latest standoff on imports rekindles a long-standing trade war on milk between Kenya and Uganda, which in 2020 saw Nairobi confiscate thousands of milk consignments from the neighbouring nation.
A number of trade issues have so far been ironed out between the two countries but the matter of milk imports is yet to be agreed upon.
Kenya was supposed to send a delegation to Kampala last year on a fact-finding mission but that is yet to see the light of day.