Lagos State Government has called for private sector partnership to establish feedlots in the State for cattle rearing and fattening in furtherance of its reforms and sanitisation of the red meat value chain.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Absiola Olusanya, who made the call on Wednesday at a Stakeholders’ Engagement on the Red Meat Value Chain, held at the Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, explained that the partnership became necessary to ensure better production and supply of cattle for consumption in the State.
According to her, the feedlots when operational would help revive and resuscitate cows that might have travelled from far cities such as Sokoto, Jalingo, Bauchi and Jigawa among others, stressing that it would also help in fattening the cows for improved quality of beef before taking them to the slaughter slabs as well as helping butchers and meat sellers to make more profit.
Her words: “The State government is already working towards ensuring that the setup of feedlots happens this year. So we are actually taking off in March for the establishments of the feedlots but everything is going to be private-sector driven as the government is only going to create the necessary enabling environment”.
“So establishing the feedlot system is critical not just for the fattening cows alone, but for the purpose of rearing the cattle themselves. We have land in Lagos that can be used for this and that is what Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu wants in the State”, Olusanya noted.
The Commissioner stressed the need for more abattoirs to cater for the over 22 million people in the State, thus the need for public-private partnership investments in the sector, pointing out that illegal slaughter slabs are springing up within the State because there are not enough abattoirs to take care of the slaughtering of cattle.
Olusanya stated that the transportation of meat carcasses using only the designated Eko refrigerated meat vans as well as the marketing of beef in standardised meat shops to prevent customers from touching the meat before purchase would, henceforth, be strictly enforced going forward.
The Commissioner further noted that the stakeholders’ engagement was a strategic approach to meet with key players in the red meat value chain to discuss ways to develop and sustain the sector, as well as listen to their grievances and challenges.
Earlier, the Chairman, Lagos State Butchers Association, Mr. Bamidele Kareem, commended the State government on its effort to upgrade the production of red meat and pledged the support of the association.
He said the association was ready to partner with the State government on the establishment of feedlots to boost food security in the red meat production but requested that the challenges confronting meat production such as poor economy, epileptic power supply and poor infrastructure, among others, be addressed.
Kareem said, “We are ready to support the establishment of feedlots in the State. If we have the cows, sheep and goats at our disposal, we will not have to depend on a region or anybody for food. We will support government policy to improve the sector”.
“We know that government is desirous that things should be better for the butcher and what the Commissioner said is for our own good, we know but the economic situation is not favourable to us now”, he added.
A Concessionaire and Chairman, Pal Meat Slaughtering Mechanised Line at the State Abattoir, Oko-Oba, Agege, Mr. Olawale Talabi, urged the government to implement existing laws and proscribe the use of slaughter slabs in red meat production.
Talabi said that there is a need for butchers to work together with concessionaires in order to standardise red meat processing and marketing in Lagos State.