Ugandan traders excited by the Museveni-Kenyatta trade deal

Uganda’s foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa (seated left) and his Kenyan counterpart Monica Juma sign an MOU on political

Ugandan manufacturers and traders dealing in sugar, poultry, beef and dairy products have commended President Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni for agreeing to open up markets for sugar, poultry, beef and dairy products between the two countries.

According to the dealers from different associations of the said products, the agreement will enable both countries find market for their surplus produce.

“This is a very good opportunity for sugar producers in Uganda; Tanzania refused our sugar, so the only market we are relying on now is Kenya and Rwanda,” Jim Kabeho, the spokesperson of the Uganda Sugar Manufacturers.

Last week, Uganda and Kenya signed a raft of agreements meant to ease trade, cement political ties and improve their social and cultural connections, as President Museveni visited Kenya. The agreements, clustered into three major categories; defence, trade and social affairs, not only to focus on easing means of doing business between the two countries, but also resolve some of the sticking issues that have hampered trade.

One of the key issues in the pact is for Kenya to consider increasing its sugar quota imported from Uganda to 90,000 metric tonnes from the current 36,000 tonnes. Uganda, on the other hand, was tasked with formally lodging a request to this effect that would create market for at least 54,000 metric tonnes of the surplus 90,000 metric tonnes it produces annually.

“We have so many sugar industries that have been established in the recent past, for example, in northern Uganda. These industries have led to a surplus in sugar, so we are looking at an excess of 150,000 tonnes,” Kabeho said.

On the other hand, beef exporters in Kenya can expect to tap into the Ugandan market after the latter was directed to lift its ban on beef and beef products from Kenya with immediate effect. According to Robert Musasizi, the acting executive director of Cows Beef Exporters and Processors of Uganda, this will enable Ugandan beef dealers have a wider market for their beef.

“Our meat suppliers from Nakasongola are going to be revived; they were losing a lot of money because of limited market in Uganda,” Musasizi said.

He, however, challenged dealers in the beef industry to work closely with the Uganda Exports Promotion Board to ensure the quality of the products, so as not to affect the market.