By Nsunjo Erica
More than 100 Ugandan trucks carrying about 6,000 tonnes of sugarcane were on Tuesday stuck at the Busia border following a new ban on importation of raw sugarcane and brown sugar by Kenya’s Ministry of agriculture.
The government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Agriculture, suspended, with immediate effect, the importation of brown sugar into Kenya in an attempt to help the local industries grow and develop.
Despite Kenya’s government has banned the importation of cane, Ugandan businessmen were allegedly still trying to make money through sneaking the cane into Kenya, apparently, they failed to enter the country.
The Kenyan authorities at the Busia border instructed the Ugandan businessmen to return their sugarcane trucks to their country shortly after they arrived at the border and tried to cross into the neighboring country.
Most of the sugarcane is from the Busoga Sub-region districts following Last year’s bilateral trade agreement between Uganda’s Museveni and Kenya’s Uhuru for Uganda to start exporting raw sugarcane to Kenya.
According to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mr. Peter Munya, the flooding of cheap imported sugar from other countries into the Kenyan market has played a major role in collapsing local factories in Kenya.
“I have directed the Sugar Directorate of Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) to ensure that the new sugar importation guidelines give no provision for the extension for existing brown sugar import permits,” he said.
The ban of sugarcane exportation into Kenya has, therefore, left Ugandan sugarcane traders, farmers, and transporters stuck with their raw material since Kenyan factories were one of their leading buyers.
Mr. Godfrey Barasa, a sugarcane trader at the Busia border, said the ban has caused him huge losses because he had made a down payment of Shs7 million to transporters.