Agriculture ministry lifts ban on importation of powdered milk

They argued the move was against the spirit of the East African Community (EAC) integration and trade protocols.

Uganda’s first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC Affairs had said she had contacted her Kenyan counterpart, Rebbecca Miano.

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The Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda had appealed to their government to engage Kenya over the ban, saying the ban was against the spirit of the EAC.

“Whenever these bans come, we don’t recip- rocate. So, their action is not in the spirit of the East African community.” Stephen Asiimwe, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda executive di- rector, was quoted as saying by local media.

Uganda is Kenya’s biggest trading partner in EAC after Tanzania and Rwanda.

“Reference is made to the recent communication made by the Kenya Dairy Board regarding the stoppage of milk powder imports,” said Agri- culture Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai.

“The stoppage issued through Kenya Dairy Board… is hereby suspended.” In a March 6 let- ter, the Kenya Dairy Board said the expected rains this month would significantly boost milk pro- duction, thus reducing the need for imports.

▸ Agriculture ministry offers no explana- tion for lifting the import curb, which had elicited protests from Ugandan manufacturers.

Earlier move was meant to protect local farmers with the expected onset of the long rains.

“In anticipation of the long rains, the govern- ment has stopped the importation of milk pow- ders to cushion the industry from surplus pro- duction and low producer prices,” wrote Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director Margaret Kibogy, adding that the board had temporarily suspend- ed the issuance of milk import permits “until fur- ther notice”.

The ban had not named any specific country, but Ugandan manufacturers protested the move and urged their government to take retaliatory

Kenya has made a U-turn on the recent ban on powdered milk imports, po- tentially avoiding a costly trade war with neighbouring countries. A public communique from the Kenyan Agriculture ministry to all importers of dairy produce dated March 14 said the directive had been suspended.