Pig abbatoir on the cards

Pig abbatoir on the cards

Lemohang Rakotsoane

MASERU

GOVERNMENT plans to build a pig abattoir in Khubetsoana during the course of this year, according the Ministry of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing.

The ministry’s director of marketing Lekhooe Makhate said the abattoir is a reaction to calls by the market for local farmers to improve their slaughtering standards. He said an assessment and a feasibility study revealed that the market was not satisfied with the way farmers were slaughtering their pigs.

The study, Makhate said, found that farmers slaughter their animals in “unhygienic place and the pigs are not tested for diseases before being slaughtered”.

The study also found that the equipment used is not sterilized or cleaned as required by market standards. Currently we are not certain that the pork that pig farmers sell is in a condition that is suitable for human consumption, Makhate said.

Because they don’t have the required equipment and knowledge most farmers are not slaughtering their pigs according to market standard.

According to procedure pigs are first rendered unconscious using electric current applied before they are hoisted on a rail to lose blood to death. After the blood has drained, the carcass is drenched in hot water in a tub-like device which helps in the removal of hair. The process to remove the hair is usually completed with a scissor-like device and then a torch if necessary.

The pig is then eviscerated, the head is usually removed, and the body is cut into two halves. The remaining halves are washed to remove any remaining blood, bacteria or remains of bone, and then cooled down in order to help with the process of cutting and deboning.

Makhate says this process requires a well-equipped abattoir run by professionals.

He stated that the abattoir is going to meet international standards so that pork producers can be able to sell it into the market without the risk of having their meat rejected by buyers.

Makhate said the abattoir will slaughter 400 pigs per day. He believes Lesotho’s farmers have the capacity to meet the local demand.

“In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture we carried out consultations with the farmers to sensitize them about the correct way of rearing pigs for the market from the food they should eat, the breed to the kind of medicine they should use,” he said.

“We took it a step further and capacitated them with business skills to ensure sustainability of their businesses”.

Makhate is upbeat that the abattoir will have enough pigs “the ministry of agriculture has already bought the breeding stock that is currently housed at Coop College”. The SADP, he added, has donated piglets to farmers,

“We want them (farmers) to start at a point whereby they will be able to make profits and grow their businesses sustainably”.

Makhate said the broader goal is to have the piggery sector established and among big job creators in the country.  “If this initiative will go according to plan there will be job opportunities especially for graduates and SMMEs. We expect people to submit proposals concerning this initiative, some can be producers of pig food, and some can rear piglets and sell them”.

“We expect the private sector to fully partake in this project to ensure sustainability, the abattoir is to be privately owned hence we need comprehensive value chain and only involve the government only where needed” Makhate.

‘Makobosia Moleli, secretary of the Lesotho Piggery Association, farmers can be able to meet the set daily target of the abattoir if they are organised.

She indicated that though some have been able to sell pork to some commercial businesses they had continuously complained about the manner in which the pigs were being slaughtered and reared.

“The abattoir will put buyer’s fears to bed especially those concerning the slaughtering process itself. In terms of rearing our farmers are trying their best, they no longer feed them leftover or rotten food but buy proper pig food,” Moleli said.

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