Uganda beats Kenya with increased Irish potato tax

Yoweri Museveni’s government sparked a trade war between Uganda and Kenya by imposing an additional Ksh3 tax on every kilo of Irish potatoes exported to Uganda.

Speaking about the new levy, the Uganda Revenue Authority noted that the The withholding tax on agricultural products was increased by 6 percent.

This led to dozens of trucks carrying potatoes from Kenya to Uganda being stranded at the border because they could not pay the extra charge.

Furthermore, it was reported that farmers from Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu have been warned against attempts to export the potatoes without paying the tax.

Potatoes are sorted after a successful harvest


In its defense, URA noted that Uganda had undervalued the product for far too long and therefore needed a tax review.

The proposal to implement the new tax was first rolled out on April 12, with minimal involvement from Kenyan traders.

Traders who export the product are now calling the new tax exorbitant and hastily done.

Uganda’s decision to abruptly impose the levy on Kenya has done just that feared this would lead to retaliation that would crumble trade between the two East African countries.

Kenya has in the past imposed a ban on Ugandan products, including milk powder and eggs.

On Saturday, April 20, Ugandan President Yoweri spoke Museveni explained how his country had reduced its dependence on Kenyan productsespecially milk.

“In 1964, all towns in Uganda were selling packaged milk from the KCC (Kenya Creameries Co-operative),” he stated adding that he introduced milk coolers in his country to end Kenya’s monopoly.

“In Uganda there are now 635 Coolers and 160 milk processing factories (17 large scale, 35 medium and 105 cottage factories) and milk production has increased from 200 million liters per year in 1986 to 5.3 billion liters now,” he claimed.

Bags of milk powder packed by DCI officers in Nairobi, stored in a warehouse on January 4, 2024