Ministry to build new abattoir in the North
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.