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Uganda and Kenya Still to Agree over Chicken Exports

by 5m Editor
12 August 2008, at 8:49a.m.

GLOBAL - Bilateral trade negotiations on Uganda's poultry and beef exports have stalled following Kenya's failure to present a report of the full risk assessment on product hygiene.

The negotiations have come to a halt, according to AllAfrica when Kenya failed to present the full risk assessment report on a study carried out by the Kenyan Veterinary Services on hygiene of Ugandan products.

The Ugandan delegation declined to discuss the matter further without a full report at a meeting last week in Kampala.

"We need a detailed report to be in position to advise and respond to what is required of us. We only saw highlights, which were availed to the minister in April and we cannot comment much on these highlights," said Dr Nicolas Kawuta, the commissioner of Livestock and Entomology at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, and also the leader of Ugandan delegation.

The risk assessment report is based on a study done by the Kenyan Veterinary Services on Ugachick and Biyinzika farms in Uganda in November 2007 to establish if Ugandan poultry operations guaranteed acceptable levels of hygiene and fit for human consumption.

The study was commissioned after Kenya banned the importation of Ugandan poultry products following the outbreak of avian flu in south-east Asia in 2006.

Even after the ban was lifted two years ago, Ugandan traders have been unable to export to Kenya although Kenyan traders continue to export more than 20,000 day-old chicks to Uganda every week.

The Uganda delegation was eager to receive the report in order to establish requirements to facilitate exports to Kenya.

Dr Kawuta said the delay to release the report by the Kenyan team is contrary to International Animal Health Organisation (OIE) guidelines, which allows four months within which evaluations have to be released.

Mr Japheth Getugi, the Kenyan High Commissioner to Uganda who led a ten-man team, promised that a full report would be given to the relevant Ugandan authorities as soon as possible.

The report will be forwarded to the ministry of Foreign Affairs who will in turn send to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Aga Ssekalala, owner of Ugachick Poultry Breeders, commented, "We need a time frame as to when the report will be available. We have already wasted a lot of time and money on this matter. We need to know the way forward."

Mr Getugi said there has never been a ban on Uganda's poultry and poultry products to Kenya.

"There is no ban on importation of day-old chicks from Uganda and urged Ugachick and other exporters to resume exports to Kenya. But should only be done through your appointed agents in Kenya," Mr Getugi said.

The experience for most Ugandan exporters though has been different. During a recent agricultural show in western Kenya, Ugachick was restricted to only 200 day-old chicks for the exhibition despite processing documents for 20,000.

They were also delayed at the Busia border post for more than four hours. According to Ugachick Marketing Manager Immaculate Ngulumi, their application for transit via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport takes two weeks.

"We have now opted to transit through Rwanda via road where it takes us only six hours. Rwanda lifted a ban on Uganda's poultry exports early this year," Ms Ngulumi said.

Uganda requested to be granted long standing transit rights for day-old chick through Kenya like she does for Kenya exporters to Uganda particularly with import permits for Farmers' Choice.

"This delay in the issuance of transit permits shall be addressed and issues of long standing transit rights will be studies for improvements where necessary," Mr Getugi said.

Kenya has issues with Uganda over the ban on importation of semen, meat and meat products by Uganda. Eleven years ago, Uganda banned the importation of beef and beef products after the outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Europe. Kenya wants Uganda to lift the ban.

Dr Kawuta said the ban applied to all countries and not just to Kenya.

"The ban on meat products followed the BSE scare and the situation is still being studied to ensure safety and traceability," Mr Kawuta said, adding that the situation is currently on review.

The two countries have agreed to initiate a Joint Technical Committee to generate information to inform the review for lifting of the ban.

5m Editor