KENYA – Kenyan Poultry farmers have urged the government to impose taxes on products from Uganda to create a level playing field and protect the industry from dumping.

In December last year, Kenya protested levies charged on poultry products exported to Uganda, but no measures have been taken to address the uneven trade that is contrary to the principles of the East Africa Community Common Markets protocol.

According to the East African, Uganda has imposed a cumulative 25 per cent duty on Kenyan poultry products—18 per cent VAT, 6 per cent withholding tax and 1 per cent road levy while export products from Uganda enter Kenya duty free.

In a recent letter addressed to Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimutai, the Kenya Poultry Breeders Association (KPBA) claims some of the are imports from the US and Turkey and repackaged in Uganda as the country of origin.

“We hereby urge the government to consider the plight of Kenyan farmers, employees and the economy as a whole by restricting chicken imports from Uganda, as this is going to destabilise the industry,” said KPBA chair Humphrey Mbugua.

“These challenges have made it hard for our farmers to grow chicken because they cannot compete with ‘Ugandan’ imports, because they are way cheaper than locally produced chicken,” Mr Mbugua added.

He further noted that Uganda was exporting to Kenya between 25 and 40 tonnes per week with only 10 per cent being in processed form.

Ministry of Agriculture data shows that Uganda exported 270 tonnes of processed chicken products into Kenya in quarter four of 2019, up from 250 tonnes in quarter three and 171.5 tonnes in quarter two.

In response, Mr Aga Sekalala Junior, the Poultry Association of Uganda chairman, said the allegations by Kenyan farmers were a familiar cry that offends the spirit of the East African Community integration according to a report by Daily Monitor.

This comes barely a year after Kenya lifted a two-year ban on Ugandan poultry and related products in June following a bilateral agreement that resolved that Kenya allows in Ugandan poultry products in exchange for its beef.

The ban was imposed following the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in January 2017, and saw Uganda retaliate by banning entry of Kenyan poultry products into the country.

The poultry sector is termed to be so sensitive which has led the South African Revenue Service to the increase the most favoured nation duties (MFN) on imports of bone-in chicken from 37 percent to 62 percent, and for boneless portions from 12 percent to 42 percent which was effected as of March 13, 2020.

The announcement comes more than one year after the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) received application for the increase of the MFN rate of customs duties on frozen meat and edible offal of fowls Gallus domesticus from the South African Poultry Association (SAPA).

According to the association, these low-priced imports limit the industry’s ability to increase prices in line with the increases in costs (price suppression), reduce sales volumes and market share.