Importation of Ugandan poultry into Kenya is set to resume, following the signing of an
agreement between the two countries at State House, Mombasa, last week.
“I am glad that our Kenyan counterparts have agreed to let Uganda resume its poultry exports to Kenya in a few months from now,” Uganda’s President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, said during his recent visit to Kenya.
The two governments agreed to remove a non-tariff barrier related to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures on chicken. They also agreed to conduct a joint verification of the exported birds’ quality in terms of required health standards by mid-April, before Kenya opens its borders.
Two years ago, Kenya placed a ban on Ugandan exports, citing SPS measures of poultry
following an outbreak of avian flu and retained it long after the outbreak was contained, though it opened access to three Ugandan farm in August 2017, following an official assessment of bio-security measures on select farms. According to the Uganda Poultry Farmers’ Association,
Ugandan poultry producers experienced significant monthly losses, estimated at $6.9 million since the ban was effected.
The lifting of the ban is happening in the backdrop of acrimony by many Kenyans on the effects that cheap imports from Uganda, especially of poultry products such as eggs, is having on Kenyan farmers. Many farmers are frustrated and feel that they are being treated to unfair competition that is denying them markets and, therefore, livelihoods.
According to its monthly newsletter USAID Hub notes that the agreement was reached following advocacy efforts. It says that it prepared and disseminated reform memos to public and private sector stakeholders that were used to push the governments to remove the bans. It also supported Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) to hold public-private dialogues on the NTBs, bringing together stakeholders to discuss their compliance with the commitment to the free movement of goods under the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol.
Several NTBs exist among the EAC Partner States, but the lifting of the ban on Ugandan poultry demonstrates that progress is achievable through advocacy, says USaid.
However, it remains to be seen how Kenyan farmers will fare once the imports resume.