FG Sets Ultimatum for Meat Dealers to Adhere to Modern  Haulage Protocols

Gilbert Ekugbe

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has given meat dealers in the country till May 29, 2023, to adhere strictly to modern meat haulage protocols.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, gave this directive at a national stakeholders’ workshop on meat hygiene and distribution of refrigerated meat vans to Butchers and Meat Sellers Association in Abuja.

Abubakar expressed concerns over the nation’s meat haulage processes that have caused huge loss of money in foreign exchange and limited Nigeria’s full participation in trade of most agricultural commodities outside the shores of the country.

In his words: “Come May 29, 2023, anyone caught transporting meat in contravention of the modern meat haulage protocols, would be left with no option than to have his/her carcasses (sic).”

He said that the move is to demonstrate government’s unwavering commitment to resuscitate meat haulage system in Nigeria by flagging-off distribution of refrigerated meat vans to butchers and meat sellers to commence the process of modernised meat haulage system in their respective states.

The minster revealed that meat haulage was the act of transporting meat from one location to another, either within the abattoir premises or between the abattoirs in Nigeria, worrying that presently, meat haulage in Nigeria does not conform to global best practices that guarantee safety for transporters, the carcass and the consumers.

Abubakar pointed out that the practice has become undesirable especially where carcasses had to be transported on wheel barrows, open vans, pick-up vans among others thereby exposing the meat to high level contamination and quality compromised.

He stated that the ministry in collaboration with financial institutions and private investors expected that each state of the federation would start with at least five refrigerated meat vans including the one that was donated by the federal government through the ministry.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, who was represented by the Director, Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr. Maimuna Habib, said that meat hygiene was an important aspect of food safety that should not be handled with kid gloves.

Umakhihe noted that the perishable nature of meat necessitated the need to improve on meat processing.

He pointed out that apart from the need to sanitise and bring meat haulage system in international standard; the operation had the potential to create sustainable jobs to youths in Nigeria.

He added that it was worthy of note that few states and investors had already keyed into the roadmap that guaranteed delivery of safe and qualitative meat to consumers.

Umakhihe, however, noted that ministry had contributed to the drafting of the National Food Safety and Quality Bill that had passed third reading at the National Assembly.

In his remarks, the National President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Mr. Baba Ngelzarma, commended the minister for the laudable initiative and called for an urgent need to train butchers and meat sellers in the country.

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