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Kenya potentially loses milk war to Uganda

On March 6, Monday 2023, the Kenya Diary Board announced an indefinite suspension of milk powder imports.

It said the long absent rains were expected to come along at last, and therefore Kenyan milk production that had fallen considerably because of drought and the unusual prolonged dry weather spell.

Without the ban, it argued, there would be a milk glut in the country, and price would significantly collapse. The powdered milk import ban disproportionately hurt Uganda, which is a major exporter of the product to Kenya.

There was a lot of grumbling in Kampala over the ban; like in the past, it didn’t last long. On March 14th, Kenya’s Agriculture and Livestock Development Principal Secretary Harry Kimati announced the suspension of the ban on milk powdered 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,’’ said Kimati.

Uganda’s first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga delightfully jumped onto the news.

‘’I am delighted to inform the dairy industry in Uganda that the ban (by Kenya) on milk products has been suspended. I have also had fruitful discussions with Mr. Abdi Dubat, Permanent Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of East African Community, on bilateral issues,’’ said Kadaga taking credit for her effort in breaking the impasse.

Shortly after President William Ruto winning office in August last year, he announced that milk imports from Uganda would be allowed and that Kenyan milk would be processed for international market.

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