KENYA – Barely two weeks after its ban on imported milk, Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has made an about turn on its decision allowing the importation of powdered milk from Uganda.
In a letter dated March 6, the Kenya Dairy Board had announced the suspension of milk powder imports in a move seen as protecting processors and farmers from lower prices.
According to the letter of the announcement, milk powder imports could lead to a surplus in the market as the anticipated rains are expected to extensively boost local milk production and reduce the need for imports.
“In anticipation of the long rains, the government has stopped the importation of milk powders to cushion the industry from surplus production and low prices,” Margaret Kibogy, KDB managing director, said in the announcement
“Consequently, the board has temporarily suspended the issuance of these import permits until further notice. We will however continue to monitor the production and demand for milk and milk products in the country and advise the government accordingly”, she added.
However, in a statement dated March 14, 2023, Kenya’s Agriculture and Livestock Development Permanent Secretary Harry Kimtai announced the suspension of the ban on milk powder imports.
“Take note that the importation of products under the East African Community (EAC) protocol refers to goods being imported from outside the East African Community, while goods traded within the EAC are referred to as transfers,” Mr Kimtai said.
The information was well received by Ugandans led by the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga.
“I’m delighted to inform the country that we received a communication from the government of Kenya informing us that the ban on importation of dairy products into the country has been suspended,” Kadaga added.
Despite Kenya being the leading buyer of Uganda’s milk products, Uganda is prompted to search for new markets for its milk and milk products due to the poor trade relations that have been caused by several barriers
The country has established new markets for its milk, which include the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Zambia and Algeria. Others are United Arab Emirates, Syria, Japan, Oman, USA, Nepal and Bangladesh; according to Uganda’s Dairy Development Authority.
The announcement suspending milk powder imports to Kenya had dampened hopes raised by President William Ruto when he took power and announced that cheap milk imports from Uganda would be allowed and that the Kenyan milk would be processed for the international market.
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