Zoo technicians and veterinarians have called on the federal government to overhaul the various slaughterhouses across the country to prevent the consumption of unhealthy meat.
The experts gave the charges during a two-day summit by the Association of Agricultural Correspondents of Nigeria (ACAN) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in Abuja recently.
While urging the government to develop a nationwide database of abattoirs and slaughter slabs, experts called for proper monitoring and delivery of safe meats to Nigerians.
From animal identification to breeding, slaughter, processing and transport to end consumers, the professionals concerned asked the FG to quickly engage competent experts, including veterinarians and agents animal health, which would ensure the mental health of the system.
They noted that unhealthy practices continue to hamper the development of the livestock sector.
“We need to ensure that all beef that enters the food chain is safe to eat and there is a need to have a database of all livestock markets, abattoirs and slaughter slabs in Nigeria,” said said Azeez Adedayo, an expert from the Agricultural Research and Training Institute.
Other participants also called for a database of beef cattle farmers in Nigeria
and the ‘conservation of indigenous breeds such as the muturu and others’.
They called for a platform to connect producers, processors and traders in the beef value chain.
They urged FMARD to extend the capacity building of slaughterhouse operators in modern meat processing techniques to other states so that wage earners can venture into cooperative farming as an alternative source of income.
Private sector actors have been encouraged to invest in meat processing facilities.
A veterinarian, Dambo Mohammed, said animals intended for distribution as a form of support or empowerment should be certified as healthy in the market before purchase.
The meeting also served as a platform to discuss issues and misconceptions regarding the National Livestock Transformation Program (NLTP).
Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Mahmood, urged participants to come up with actionable recommendations that would support the successful execution of the NLTP.
The National Executive Council (NEC), under the leadership of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, launched the plan with inputs from state governors and other stakeholders to address pastoralist-farmer crises in the country.
Selected states such as Adamawa, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna are already at the pilot stage of the initiative.
About 100 billion naira has been approved as required to execute the national livestock plan and part of the funding will come from the private sector, it has been learned.