Traders Counting Losses as Kenya Blocks Entry of Uganda Cane Trucks

Several sugarcane traders are stuck in Busia town following Kenya’s ban on the importation of sugarcane from Uganda. Kenya’s Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya recently announced a total ban on the importation of Sugar cane from Uganda, which took effect on Thursday last week.

Over 100 Ugandan trucks carrying about 300,000 tons of sugarcane are now stuck at the Busia One Stop Border Point. Many of the traders were delivering the Sugar cane to companies such as Busia Sugar allied factory and Olepito Sugar Factory in Kenya’s Busia County.

Fred Mutebi, the Director Mutebi and Sons Sugar Cane Producers told our reporter that they have over 100 trucks Stuck at Busia customs, each of them carrying over 3000 tons of cane valued at Shillings 20million.

He says the cane has started drying on the truck due to prolonged exposure to sunshine.

Jimmy Kwoba, a sugar cane farmer cut over 10 hectares of sugarcane plantation worth Shillings 200 million for exportation to Kenya. Kwoba says due to the ban on the exportation of cane to Kenya his entire garden has started drying up.

Geoffrey Barasa, the Chairperson Sugarcane Transporter’s Association, says they are suffering at Busia customs due to lack of food. He notes that most of the drivers were hired from Kenya to transport the cane but they are now stranded at the border.

Badru Waswa, a truck driver who was returning the sugar cane after failing to enter Kenya, says the suspension of bilateral trade makes the East Africa community integration meaningless to them as traders and truckers.

Suleiman Benzula, the Chairperson Customs Traders has called for government’s immediate intervention to resolve the matter, saying they are at risk of contracting the corona virus disease because of congestion at the border.

Doreen Nafuna, the Deputy Mayor Busia Municipality, says they are in the process of identifying a place to relocate the truck drivers to as they wait for feedback from Kenyan authorities.

The truck drivers have now petitioned the Ministry of East African Affairs and Ministry of Trade and Industries to intervene in the matter and explain why Kenya has blocked them from delivering their cane.

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