The Lagos State Government has called on the private sector to partner with it to establish feedlots for cattle rearing and fattening in furtherance of its reforms and sanitization of the red meat value chain.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya who made the call at a Stakeholders’ Engagement on the Red Meat Value Chain in Alausa, Ikeja explained that the partnership has become imperative to ensure better production and supply of cattle for consumption as Lagos consumes over 1.8 million herds of cattle and over 1.4 million herds of sheep and goats on an annual basis, totalling over 50% of what Nigeria produces in terms of red meat.
The Commissioner explained that the feedlots which it intends to start this month under a public-private partnership arrangement would help revive and resuscitate cows that might have travelled from far cities such as Sokoto, Jalingo, Bauchi and Jigawa among others to Lagos before slaughtering.
She said “When a lot of the cattle come in here and land at the animal market, they’re usually very weak; by the time they get to the slaughter, they have water and weight loss. Having feedlot Centres means that the cattle can rest, they can be fattened so that people can make more profit, and you have even more wholesome beef on your table. We will like to deliver and achieve all of these things this year if possible, so you can start off with a pilot project.”
Ms Olusanya who pointed out that over time, such feedlots could be cultivated into ranches, announced government’s plans to establish more abbatoirs to curb the menace of illegal slaughter slabs.
“So establishing the feedlot system is critical not just for the fattening alone, but for the purpose of rearing the cattle themselves. We have land in Lagos that can be used for this, the idea around the red meat value chain stakeholders’ engagement is to have a sort of conclusion around how the sector should move forward, we have about 12,13, abbatoirs in Lagos, but they are not enough for over 22 million people, currently a lot of the Eko meat vans are not in good shape anymore, so, we want more private sector participation in the transportation of carcasses in Lagos” She said
She emphasized that the transportation of meat carcasses using only the designated Eko refrigerated meat vans as well as marketing of beef in standardized meat shops where there would be no avenue for consumers to touch the meat before buying would henceforth be strictly enforced going forward.
The Chairman, Lagos State Butchers Association, Mr. Bamidele Kareem and other major stakeholders at the meeting expressed their readiness to work with the government to ensure safety and boost food security in the red meat production but urged government to address the challenges confronting meat production such as poor economy, epileptic power supply and poor infrastructure amongst others.