Kenya’s sugar unions on Wednesday warned the government of a court battle if a deal to import sugar from Uganda takes effect without further consultation with them.


The Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers (KUSPAW) and the Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association (KESGA) said allowing sugar imports into the country at a time when local sugar factories are under threat will have a negative impact on the country’s economy.

KUSPAW secretary-general Francis Wangara said they feared that there would be “flooding of free sugar imports into the country.”

KESGA secretary-general Richard Ogendo said that the pact came at a time when Mumias Sugar Miller, the country’s largest sugar company, was struggling to get back to its feet.

The trade pact on sugar, which was inked during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Uganda over the weekend, has stirred controversy in Kenya, with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga saying there were no mechanisms in place to ensure the provision is not abused to dump cheap sugar imports from other countries.

“I’m not opposed to intra-Africa trade. I will not be against Kenya trading with Uganda. All we want is protection for Kenyan cane farmers,” Odinga told a forum Wednesday in the capital Nairobi where Kenyatta was in attendance.

However, Kenyatta said the former PM’s concern about sugar imports was “misplaced”, arguing that it is more logical for Kenya to get sugar from neighbouring Uganda to address shortfalls instead of bringing it from overseas.
He further said Uganda is the leading export market for Kenyan products, and any imports from the neighbouring country would only “improve trade between the two nations.”

“Let us work to strengthen our own in this region. Uganda imports 700 million U.S. dollars worth of products from Kenya. They export 150 million (U.S.) dollars,” the president said.

Kenya’s official statistics say that Uganda produces about 465,000 tonnes of sugar against consumption of 320,000 tonnes, leaving it with a 145,000-tonne surplus. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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