Uganda urged to compensate Kenyan fish traders

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The Ugandan government has been asked to compensate Kenyan fish traders whose fish were recently seized by security personnel en route to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A joint mission made up of delegations from Uganda and Kenya after a four-day engagement on the Kenyan side of Busia made several resolutions, including asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya to file a formal complaint with the Ugandan government on behalf fish traders. for fish seized on October 3, 2021 in Kikorongo near the Mpondwe border point in western Uganda.

Uganda was represented by Major General David Kasura Kyomukama, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, while the Kenyan delegation was led by Dr. Francis Owino, Principal Secretary of the Department of State in charge of fisheries, aquaculture and the blue economy.

Major General David Kasura (left), the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture with Dr. Francis Owino, the principal secretary of the State Department for Fisheries, visits some places in Kenya

On Friday, the joint team also interacted with fish market traders, members of the Kenya Busia Cross Border Fish Traders Association and Kenyan fishermen from Lake Victoria who complained of alleged harassment and extortion while in transit. by Uganda.

They demanded compensation for the seized fish, although they did not disclose the amount of money lost.

The statement indicates that the joint mission and the meetings took place in a fraternal and cordial atmosphere.

Compensation for traders was among the resolutions signed and adopted by delegations from both countries following a joint fish value chain verification mission during a four-day engagement held from 1 to Friday, March 4.

The engagement was organized to improve the transit of fish from Lake Turkana in Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo via Uganda.

This was a follow-up to the recommendations of a bilateral meeting between the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives and the Ugandan Minister of Agriculture. The joint communiqué of the two ministers was signed on December 21, 2021 and aimed among other things to develop a transit mechanism for fish from Lake Turkana in Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo via Uganda.

Other resolutions for Friday’s meeting included the formation of multi-agency teams in Marsabit, Samburu and Turkana counties bordering Lake Turkana to propose mechanisms for the evacuation of fish from Lake Turkana in transit to the DRC from here on March 11, 2022.

Major General David Kasura (second from left), the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Agriculture speaks with Dr. Francis Owino, the State Department Principal Secretary for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Agriculture blue economy

Major General David Kasura (second from left), the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Agriculture speaks with Dr. Francis Owino, the State Department Principal Secretary for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Agriculture blue economy

“This mentioned mechanism will aim to facilitate the transport of fish from Lake Turkana through Uganda to the DRC without interference,” the statement said.

He also called for the formation of a multi-agency team in Busia, Kenya to come up with mechanisms for the evacuation of fish from Busia and its surroundings to the Democratic Republic of Congo via Uganda. 11, 2022.

A joint bilateral technical committee led by the Directors of Fisheries Management will also meet virtually to harmonize the mechanisms developed by the multi-agency teams on March 25, 2022, and a final harmonized proposal will be submitted to the respective Permanent/Principal Secretaries for adoption virtually. . on March 25, 2022.

During the interaction, Kenyan delegates expressed concern over allegations of extortion along transit routes forcing most traders to use Ugandan registered trucks to transport fish.

They also noted that they had encountered instances of delayed clearance at the Busia border point of Kenyan trucks by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) officials and additional costs resulting from the unloading and reloading of fish trucks caused. by the requirement of the Ugandan authorities to open the seals and check the contents of the trucks.

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