17-02-2009 15:54 Uganda
Mystery surroundings Uganda's sameer exports to Syria - milk or ghee?
KAMPALA, Feb 17 (NNN-NEW VISION) -- MYSTERY surrounds a consignment of 15 tonnes of dairy products by Sameer Agriculture and Livestock that President Yoweri Museveni commissioned for export to Syria last May.
Sameer managing director Anand Gaggar said contrary to what was reported, the consignment was not milk powder, but ghee.
“We have never exported milk to Syria but only ghee,” Gaggar said on phone.
Last May, Museveni inaugurated the first milk powder plant in Uganda at the company’s factory in Industrial Area, Kampala.
He also flagged off a consignment of products for export to Syria and called for the removal of taxes on the production of milk.
The State House website published an article dated May 6, 2008, reporting that the President had commissioned the first consignment of milk powder to Syria. The media also reported that the company had exported milk powder to Syria.
However, the Uganda Investment Authority boss, Dr. Maggie Kigozi, said: “According to information from the investor (Sameer), milk powder production was launched, but the consignment flagged off by the President was of ghee.”
Kigozi was the master of ceremonies at the event.
The controversy has followed reports by some sections of the media that Syria, which was the leading importer of milk powder from Uganda, had rejected the milk after finding it contaminated.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards and Uganda Investment Authority have said the milk is perfect.
It is estimated that Uganda produces 1.5 billion litres of milk annually and exports about 380 metric tonnes of milk and its products to countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, DR Congo and Southern Sudan.