A section of Ugandan legislators have described the decision by the Kenyan government to ban maize import from Uganda as an attack on the spirit of regional integration.
Last week, Kenya added maize on the list of exports from Uganda and Tanzania that are banned from its market citing presence of an acute increase in chronic aflatoxin-related illnesses, some of which have resulted into death.
During a plenary session on Tuesday afternoon, MPs expressed displeasure at the move taken by Kenya saying it undermines the spirit of East Africa Integration and urged government of Uganda to take action.
Hon Macho Godfrey (Busia Municipality) raised the Kenyan decision as a matter of national importance. He noted that this is not the first ban of Ugandan products by Kenya but rather one among the many like the ban on Milk and sugarcane leaving traders dealing in those products stranded.
The ban according to records from Bank of Uganda will see Uganda lose an average of $121m (Shs447b) in annual revenue. Uganda exports at least 90 per cent of its maize to Kenya with a cumulative average of 330,620 Tons.
“Madam Speaker, it’s not the first time this House is raising concern over the unfair treatment of Ugandan traders by the Kenyan government. The East African spirit is under attack” said Hon Macho whose opinion was to have the issue addressed through bilateral means other than an outright ban.
Hon Macho asked the gov’t to block all the imports from Kenya saying that Tanzania immediately closed their borders after the Kenya maize ban, which has since forced the Kenyan authorities to allow maize importation
“Madam Speaker, isn’t time we demand an explanation from the Prime- Minister on what crime, Ugandan traders have done?” Kasilo County MP Hon Elijah Okupa said.
The ban on Maize from Uganda comes after the Kenyan authorities in January banned importation of poultry and beef products from within and beyond East Africa.
In a January 2021, Kenya stopped all chicken, meat and egg imports on the pretext that it needed to support its “producers to recover from disruptions in their livestock enterprises occasioned by Covid-19”.
Bugweri County MP Hon Abdul Katuntu said the move by the Kenyan government to ban maize import from Uganda and previously Sugarcane is double Jeopardy to the people of Bugweri County and Uganda at Large.
Dozens of loaded trucks transporting maize from Uganda have been stranded at the border since the ban. Some MPs this website talked to claim that Kenya has always set the stage for a war with its main trading partners which puts the regional coalition efforts in balance.
In a January 14 memo, East Africa’s biggest economy stopped all chicken, meat and egg imports on the pretext that it needed to support its “producers to recover from disruptions in their livestock enterprises occasioned by Covid-19”.
The Tanzanian government through its Ministry of Agriculture has urged the Kenyan government to provide an explanation saying they had neither been informed of the decision nor received any official communication.
On Monday, Tanzania’s Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, said they expected the government of Kenya to do the right thing saying that the internationally recognized channel is to raise a non-compliance notice when an importing country notices the food does not meet set standards.
He however, defended the quality of maize from Tanzania, saying every batch had a phytosanitary certificate that confirmed it was fit for human consumption before it was exported.