The Lagos State Government on Thursday inaugurated a three-pronged reform to sanitise the red meat value chain, end its unwholesome sales and ensure consumption of healthy meat.
Prince Gbolahan Lawal, State Commissioner for Agriculture, said at the occasion that the state government was committed to sanitising the value chain.
Lawal, flagging off the pilot scheme of the reform at Ita Faji Market in Lagos Island, said this would be done by embarking on three-pronged strategies with the acronym A.T.M: Abattoir, Transportation and Market.
The commissioner said that the reform was in conformity with Section 4 of the Cap M3 Meat Inspection Law of Lagos State and the Forth Schedule (Regulation 33) of the Law.
He added that the reform would not only ensure the consumption of wholesome meat by the people, but it would also facilitate export of red meat to other countries.
Lawal said that the reform would be piloted in four local governments including: Lagos Island, Ita Faji Market; Ikorodu, Igando and Badagry axis.
He said the reform would go live across the 20 local government areas and 37 LCDA on Jan. 5, 2020.
“The pilot of the A.T.M reform starts today and it will last one month; thereafter, we will begin full implementation across the state on Jan. 5.
“The three-strategies, which is Abattoir, Transport and Market is to guarantee the safety and health of the populace by ensuring that only certified animals are slaughtered and wholesome beef is available in our markets.
“This will also boost the international recognition of beef from the state, thus opening up an export portal which will be a source of foreign exchange to the state government,” he said.
Lawal wondered why some African countries like Botswana, Namibia, Ethiopia and Kenya could export meats to Europe, Saudi Arabia and other developed countries and Nigeria, a naturally endowed and big country, could not do same.
“Botswana alone exports about 9,000 tons of meat to Europe and 10,000 tons to Saudi Arabia, and also enjoys unlimited preferential market access to the European Union, competing with meat exporting countries like Brazil.
“So, rather than only producing meat for local consumption, Botswana exports meat that is hygienically tested and proven to meet the European market standard.
“In the same vein, Namibia also exports meats to about 18 European countries and China.
“Its meat exports industry is quite lucrative and a sure revenue generator for the country.
“The question is: how did our brother African countries are able to do this while naturally endowed and big country like Nigeria is not able to do this?
“The answer is solely because of the reforms they have been able to carry out in their red meat value chains which enable their red meat to meet the international standard,” he said.
Lawal said that it was important for the state government to raise the standard of slaughtering, processing and marketing of red meat for hygienic reason.
He said the reform would also bring activities in the value chain to international best practices, particularly as the government was committed to becoming a 21st century economy.
The commissioner said that series of engagements were held with critical stakeholders like the Butchers Association in the state, Market women and men, concessionaires and franchises, among others.
“Today, after about 12 stakeholders’ engagement, starting on the Sept. 11, the stakeholders in the red meat value chain agreed with the ministry.
“That it is of great importance for us to reform the red meat value chain in order to boost the profitability and productivity of the value chain.
“In time past, the processing of the animals has been a major challenge for the government of Lagos State.
“Often times, we have had to engage law enforcement officers to clean up the system by clamping down on illegal abattoirs.
“But, we still discover that they continue to spring up; the best way of attacking the challenge is for us to wait for them in the market.
“If we make sure that they do not have access to the market, with that, they will be forced to work with us in line with the law of the land.
“That is why we decided to embark on the reform A.T.M,” he said.
Also, Dr Henrietta Ojuri, Chief Veterinary Officer in the ministry, explained that with the new reform, all butchers were henceforth expected to patronise only registered abattoirs and obtain a receipt.
Ojuri said that butchers were not allowed to transport meat in any other vehicles apart from the Eko Refrigerated meat van and they should wear white coat with cloves and a cutting table with net.
Commenting, Mr Kamal Salau-Bashua, Chairman, Lagos Island East Local Government, commended the state government for introducing the reform.
Also, Alhaji Wasiu Akande, Chairman, Butchers Association, Lagos Island, said that many opportunities were embedded in the new reform, urging his members to embrace it.
Edited & Vetted By: Olagoke Olatoye