Min­istry to build new abat­toir in the North

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There is good news for live­stock farm­ers in the Northern Di­vi­sion. The Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture is look­ing at the pos­si­bil­ity of set­ting up an abat­toir in the re­gion.

Gov­ern­ment be­lieves Vanua Levu has pro­duc­tion po­ten­tial for meats like beef, pork, poul­try along with dairy prod­ucts. Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Ru­ral and Mar­itime De­vel­op­ment and Na­tional Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment, Inia Seruiratu, said Vanua Levu ei­ther slaugh­ters or sends live an av­er­age of 50 cat­tles and 150 goats to Viti Levu ev­ery week.

But there is grow­ing con­cern about the ex­ploita­tion of farm­ers who have no con­trol over the com­mer­i­cal deals made by mid­dle­men hired to sell the prod­ucts. Mr Seruiratu has echoed sim­i­lar con­cerns.

He said the ben­e­fits of the trade were not be­ing en­joyed by live­stock farm­ers.

“It may sound good in terms of pro­duc­tion, but in terms of its ben­e­fits to the lo­cal com­mu­nity, it does not paint a good pic­ture as there is a high rate of mon­e­tary leak­age which should be con­tained lo­cally,” Mr Seruiratu said.

A slaugh­ter­house or abat­toir is a fa­cil­ity where an­i­mals are slaugh­tered and pre­pared for con­sump­tion as food. Gov­ern­ment has held dis­cus­sions with the Vanua Levu Live­stock Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion in an ef­fort to ad­dress this is­sues. Th­ese are in line with the re­cently in­tro­duced sheep and goat project.

Seaqaqa and Dreketi iden­ti­fied

Mr Seruiratu said ini­tially there were plans to set up the abat­toir at Na­ca­vanadi, Savusavu but that is no longer hap­pen­ing. “We have iden­ti­fied a few sites be­tween Seaqaqa and Dreketi,” he said.

“While this is in the pipe­line, they are con­cen­trat­ing on build­ing slaugh­ter houses. “The im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity is to keep con­struc­tion slaugh­ter houses and that en­tirely de­pends on the need. “One has been com­pleted in the Clarence Lep­per Es­tate in Vanua Levu and we just about to con­nect the elec­tric­ity.” Ac­cord­ing to Mr Seruiratu, abat­toirs are cov­ered by a law, which states that once there is an abat­toir, all ex­ist­ing slaugh­ter houses will be closed down.

To counter this, he said the northern of­fice was now en­cour­ag­ing the de­vel­op­ment of the lo­cal in­dus­try for the ben­e­fit of the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“The es­tab­lish­ment of this new ru­ral slaugh­ter house will be able to main­tain the eco­nomic ben­e­fits, in terms of costs re­duc­tion, higher mar­ket prices, cre­ation of em­ploy­ment and lower Biose­cu­rity risk,” he said.

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