The Lagos State Government says it will roll-out new “transformation agenda” in the red meat value chain.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, told newsmen in Lagos on Thursday that the initiative would be rolled out before the end of February.
The transformation, Olusanya said, would ensure proper handling, processing, transportation and consumption of hygienic and wholesome meat in the state.
Newsmen report that the state government had, in 2008, inaugurated the Eko Refrigerated Meat Van Project under the Public-Private Sector Partnership initiative in collaboration with the Skye and Fidelity Banks.
The vans were used to transport meat from various abattoirs to the markets.
The commissioner, however, acknowledged the poor state of Eko refrigerated meat van initiative.
According to her, Eko refrigerated meat van was set up to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of the meat being consumed by the public, through ethical and hygienic transportation.
She said that over the years, many of the vans had become old and rickety, posing concern to the public and consumers.
This, she said was because the meat van project funding arrangement had expired and that the government was in the process of renewing it through the Public-Private Partnership.
The commissioner said that the situation was about to change as the state government had put in place initiative to ensure control of the entire value chain.
She noted that the new initiative would include identification and traceability of animal from the North, the establishment of feedlots, logistics and transportation, abattoirs as well as cold chain and refrigerated meat van.
“This is not just about the transportation or the logistics alone; it is about the entire process of the value chain.
“Right from animal identification and traceability from the North to establishing feedlots, logistics for moving the animals from the feedlots to the abattoirs.
“It will also include having properly mechanised and semi-mechanised abattoirs instead of slaughtering on the slabs and cold chain, which is where the refrigerated meat van comes in,’’ the commissioner said.
She urged private investors, with relevant capabilities and expertise, to partner with the state government in exploring the opportunities in the sector.
“Actually, the refrigerated meat van arrangement we have has expired, so we are renewing it.
“We are calling on private sector stakeholders that have the capability and expertise to come in and get the initiative rollout.
“It is going to be run and manage by the private sector but the government will act as a regulatory body to ensure that everybody is complying with guidelines.
“People will begin to see transformation very soon, especially with the transportation of meat in Lagos.’’
The commissioner said that the project could take some time before becoming a reality due to procedures and private collaboration involved.
“Setting of agreement, memorandum of understanding and certain things that have to be put in place first before we can actually start to see all these things change.
“Investors also want to be guaranteed of returns on investment, they want to be sure that we will create enabling environment and there will be no bottlenecks.
“Some of these things will take few months but you will see the rollout of all of these,’’ she added.
Olusanya also said that under the new initiative, there would be standard shops where properly packaged meat would be sold.
“Under this arrangement, we will have standard meat shops, not just people selling meat on the trays or on the pans because it is not hygienic.
“With the move around zoonotic diseases, we will have lots of issues if we are not careful.
“The new arrangement will be from meat shops to packaging section and finally to consumers.
“This is not just about the abattoir and transportation of meat to the market, it has gone beyond that now,’’ the commissioner said.