Uganda considers banning sugar exports to Kenya to address shortage

UGANDA – Uganda is planning to limit or ban sugar exports to Kenya in order to protect the local market that is facing supply shortfalls, an article in the Business Daily has revealed.

Due to a sugar crisis in Kenya, local traders have rushed to seize the opportunity to import sugar across the border, something that Uganda cites may result to shortage, higher prices in the country if it remains uncontrolled.

To ponder on the next move regarding sugar exports, the Ministry of trade will be meeting Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and there, the fate of exports to Kenya may be determined.

According to Mr David Kiiza, a senior industry officer at the ministry of trade, a decision to open a window for exports will rest on the stock available and if there could be enough, only up to 10,000 tonnes of sugar may be allowed to be exported.

“We are going to ensure that it is controlled because earlier on we had agreed that we export only 25,000 metric tonnes a year and now they have gone beyond that.

“So we have to stop this and ensure that they do not export much,” said Mr David Kiiza.

In the last three weeks, sugar across the border to Kenya hit 75 metric tonnes from 50 tonnes last month, said Kiiza.

Crackdown on illegal sugar

Kenya’s thirst for Uganda’s sugar comes a crackdown on illegal sugar imported into the country in addition to low production from the Kenyan manufacturers.

A series of probes into imported contraband sugar said to be contaminated with copper saw the government through its state agencies confiscate more than 500,000 tonnes of sugar.

After confirming that certain sugar imports had copper levels way above what was standard, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) said before the parliamentary committee that they had recalled and impounded non-compliant consignments.

This led to a shortage of the commodity that saw prices almost double than the price of the same quantity in Uganda.

Mr Wilberforce Mubiru, the general secretary Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association noted that Uganda could produce enough sugar for both the local and regional market but the former remains a priority.

“We have been exporting. We exported 30,900 metric tonnes in 2017 and 66,000 in 2016.

If the sugar that is produced in Uganda is what traders are exporting, it could bring a shortage but if it is re-exported sugar then that is okay,” he said.

Uganda currently produces more than 430,000 tonnes against a demand of about 350,000 tonnes.

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