Claim. Traders say the ban on poultry products has affected the entire cross border business as no other products from Uganda are allowed to cross to DR Congo.
Traders at Mpondwe Market in Lhubiriha Town Council in Kasese District near the Uganda-DR Congo border are crying foul following the ban of Ugandan products to DR Congo early this year.
In February, the Congolese government put a ban on poultry and its products from Uganda following the outbreak of bad flu in areas of central Uganda.
However, the ban has affected the entire cross border business as no other products from Uganda are allowed to be taken across the border.
Traders who deal in poultry products have since closed their businesses and are seeking government intervention to convince the Congolese government to lift the ban.
Mr Denis Asasira, a trader in eggs told Daily Monitor on Tuesday that he decided to close down his business after seeing that there was no business any more.
“I have closed my eggs store until the border is reopened. We have lost a lot of money ever since we were stopped by the Congolese government to sell our products,” he said.
He said that he used to sell 6,000 trays of eggs to DR Congo per week at Shs8,000 each tray.
“I have lost a lot of money since I used to get Shs48 million per week. The ban has been there for almost four months leading to a loss of Shs192 million,” he said, adding: “I am now out of business completely.”
Mr Elieza Baluku, a resident of Kyaborokya 1 cell in Mpondwe, Lhubiriha Town Council who deals in poultry, explained that the situation is getting worse all the time.
“We used to get our business from the Congolese who would come to buy chicken in large quantities but ever since they stopped our products, we only sell few to those who smuggle and take it there as a smuggled good,” he said.
Mr Baluku noted that he used to sell more than 1000 birds per week. He said since the ban took effect, he now hardly sells 20 birds in a week.
However, Mr Stanley Pandasi, the chairperson of the traders association at Mpondwe Market, said that it was not only the poultry products that were banned but rather so many Uganda products such as bread, sodas, beers, mineral water and many others.
“We are failing to know what went wrong with our products. Almost all the Ugandan products are prohibited from entering DR Congo and yet we keep on buying their products which have free entrance. We thought eggs and chicken were stopped when we had bird flu in the country but up to now we still face the challenge,” he said.
Ms Esther Muhindo, a fish trader said “Everything has increased in the price as the Congolese traders who are allowed to bring their products here have doubled the prices for goods like cassava flour, palm oil and gonja after stopping us for taking our own items.”
Unaware. When contacted, the Resident District Commissioner, Mr James Mwesigye, said he was not aware of the traders’ challenges; while the Trade ministry Permanent Secretary AmbassadorJulius Onen, said: “Once we are briefed by our officers we shall take up the matter and then come up with a position.”