In furtherance of the reforms of the red meat value chain in the State, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday, 1st July, 2014, undertook an inspection of the different sections of the Lagos State Abattoir and Lairage Oko Oba, Agege, stating that the state government is keen on improving the capacity of the facility to keep the existing jobs and create more.
The Governor who spoke with state house correspondents who accompanied him after an extensive inspection of the various sections of the Abattoir to see the gradual reforms being carried out with the involvement of various stakeholders explained that with proper organization, the place will keep the jobs and employ more.
He added that the initiative at the abattoir is not an off the cuff one but a well thought out initiative from the focus of the administration on Power, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing which made up P.A.T.H.
“When you look at the number of people here, nobody here is here on a frolic. All of these people earn their living here, so this is how many people this Abattoir and Lairage employs on a daily basis and it might seems a little bit difficult to understand how it works.
“There are trailers that represent the transport section of the business, there is feeding that represent the feed lot section of the business, there is animal sales that represent the distributive line of the business and of course there is the abattoir itself where the killing is done and then there is sales and you would see a lot of women in the inner section where they sort out the inner, the tripe, the intestine, there is a value chain here”, the Governor said.
He explained that it was observed that over the years a lot of equipment at the abattoir were not being put to use and the government thought there must be a reason for that. This led to the administration sponsoring about 39 of the abattoir stakeholders especially the leadership to go to Kenya and Botswana to see what is happening and the visit turned out very revealing.
Fashola stated that the operators came back from the trip asking for change and reforms and that what the state government has done is to allow them to lead the reforms they themselves want, which explains some of the developments he observed during the inspection.
“You would see in one of the sections that I entered that they built their own separation cubicles, they now put their white rain boots there, they put their lockers there, so you change into white garment so that at least the process of cleaning, killing and processing the meat is improved and the hygienic condition of what ultimately gets to your table and my table become better.
“You saw the mechanized section also where now the machines that have been there before during Governor Otedola’s regime being put to use gradually and that is servicing what we call corporate butchers section where the UAC and all those who deal in bulk trade of beef and its accessories are being serviced”, he explained.
The Governor who also spoke about the new trucks for transporting cattle, informed that when the operators were given the exposure to international best practices in Kenya and Botswana, one of the things they realized was that by making their cattle walk so many kilometres before it is slaughtered, they are the ones actually losing because the animal is stressed and the beef is equally reduced in quality and quantity.
He added that they discovered that if they transport the animal, they are likely to get much more value in terms of beef returns, stressing that the new trucks are the trucks people should expect to begin to see on Lagos roads for transporting cattle.
“Overtime they themselves say that they would stop pushing the animals at night on foot because they want to keep the value of their lifelong investment. So it is reforms that they themselves are driving and that if you transport the animal you are likely to get much more return value in terms of beef returns”, he said.
He reiterated that the state government will sort out the trailer park, clean it up, make it more modern for the dealers, adding that the administration also intends to build a camp like a hostel so that those who come to work there can find a place to sleep, to wash, to eat and support their business and to ultimately help them to clean up the animal market.
“As I have said, this is the reforms that they themselves have taken on as the Seriki has said. So we are just here coasting with what they are doing and giving help. One of the things we would do very quickly is to help them fence up this place now because that is one of his requests”, he said.
The Governor was conducted round the various sections of the Abattoir by the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Prince Gbolahan Lawal; the Permanent Secretary, Dr Yakub Bashorun; and top management of Harmony Abattoirs Management Services Limited.