Kenya and Zambia meet again to solve 13 years trade issues

Kenya is set to hold another meeting with Zambia’s top government officials this month in order to solve the long standing trade issues between both countries. This issue has made it difficult for Kenya to export dairy and oil products to Zambia.

There has been a conflict of standard between both countries for about 13 years. Zambia has rejected Kenya’s milk, saying it has a high level of bacteria that is beyond the country’s required standards. Zambia allows total bacteria count (TBC) of 200,000 while Kenya follows the international benchmark of one million TBC.  The Southern African country also has a problem with Kenya’s palm oil over rules of origin. This is because the East African nation does not produce its own oil. It imports crude palm oil from Asia, processes it and exports surpluses.

Although there is a possibility of both nations striking a deal on Palm oil but that of  milk is uncertain because of the difference in the standard by both countries.

“Officials from Zambia’s ministry of Livestock are expected in Kenya this month to discuss the issue and solve the stalemate,”  Kenya’s High Commissioner to Zambia and Malawi Sophie Kombe told Businessdaily.

In order to increase its export, the East African country wants the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) bloc to come up with standards that will deal with issues like this. Although last year Comesa said it would engage the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Zambian government to resolve the issue but nothing has changed. Recently, Comesa director for trade customs and monetary affairs Francis Mangeni said experts from FAO, the ministries of Commerce, Trade and Industry as well as Agriculture from both countries would meet to sort out the issue.

According to Food Business Africa, Kenya’s Dairy industry is one of the largest and sophisticated in Africa. It produces an estimated 5 billion litres of milk and the dairy industry is an important player in the economic and nutritional growth of the Kenyan population.