More than 100 Ugandan trucks carrying about 6,000 tonnes of sugarcane are stuck at the Busia border following a new ban on importation of raw sugarcane and brown sugar by Kenya.
Kenya banned the importation of cane from Uganda last year but some shrewd businessmen were allegedly sneaking it into Kenya and selling it to some factories.
Last week, Mr Peter Munya, the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture in Kenya, announced the total ban that took effect immediately.
It is a double loss for farmers since some sugar factories have stopped buying from them.
The ban has, therefore, left Ugandan sugarcane traders, farmers and transporters stuck.
Mr Issa Kakaire, one of the truck drivers, told Daily Monitor at Busia border yesterday that he had been directed to return to Uganda by Kenya authorities shortly after he crossed into the neighboring country.
“I had just crossed to Kenya with 12 tonnes of sugarcane when I was ordered to drive back to Uganda,” he said.
Most of the sugarcane is from the Busoga Sub-region districts of Kaliro, Kamuli, Mayuge, Iganga, and Busembatia.
Last year, Uganda started exporting raw sugarcane to Kenya following a bilateral trade agreement between President Museveni and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta.
The agreement came as a relief to hundreds of sugarcane farmers in Busoga who were stranded with the raw material since several factories were unable to offer right prices and absorb all the sugarcane.
Mr Godfrey Barasa, a sugarcane trader at the Busia border, said he had six trucks of the cane destined to Busia Sugar Factory, which has been his main buyer.
He said the ban has caused him huge losses because he had made a down payment of Shs7 million to transporters.