Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Meat traders blame DCC over failure to construct modern abattoir

SOME meat traders in Dar es Salaam have expressed their disappointment over what they described as the failure of the Dar es Salaam City Council to fulfill its long standing promise of constructing a modern abattoir in order to enable them conduct slaughter activities in hygienic environment. Speaking in an exclusive interview early this week in Dar es Salaam meat traders said that, they are surprised to see no sign of construction is being undertaken ever since the promise was made by the city authorities and instead continues to slaughter their cows in dilapidated abattoirs.  The call by the meat traders has echoed when contacted by this paper with a view to find out their way forward amid reported news of filthy surrounding the old abattoir in which they operate located at Mazizini area in Ukonga within Ilala Municipal Council that made the government to suspend its operation and resumed after one week’s time. The Mazizini abattoir being the oldest facility was designed to serve the Dar es Salaam residents whose population by then was approximately less than 1 million people was built in 1972 and designed to accommodate 50 cows per day compared to currently 300.  In recent years, the facility has been facing eminent closure for a number of times due to filthy surrounding its compound which primarily is due to the increased number of cows being slaughtered per day which do not match with the available infrastructure. Samwel Mkunda a meat trader said that, health environment in most abattoirs found in the city is due to the increased number of cows accommodated compared in the past as such facilities were designed to accommodate fewer cows than as it is now. In view of this, he has therefore asked for quick investments so as to help cater for the need as such areas needs to undergo expansion to increase infrastructural upgrades in order to cope with the increased demand. However, he said adding that, otherwise the situation would become worse as the population increases.  “filthy would continue to dominate in these abattoirs as there is no strict supervision work being carried by the authorities concerned” he said while asking the government to look for strategic investors to carry on the work. The Chairman of the Union of meat sellers in Dar es Salaam, popularly known by its Kiswahili acronym ‘UWANJU’ Mr. Clement Malijo said that, it’s high time to have a modern facility for a slaughter house in the city of Dar es Salaam bearing in mind the fact that it is the centre of the country’s business with many foreign dignitaries of various levels. Another meat trader Ezekiel Chilongo wondered and said that, it’s really a shame to notice that, over 50 years now since independence time, Dar es Salaam the main commercial capital city once known as the Haven of Peace is supplied with cow meat being slaughtered in dilapidated abattoirs which are equipped with poor facilities that do not meet international standards. He has however appealed to the government to ward off such a shameful scenario in order to match with the current global technological changes and has appealed to the authorities concerned to look for a strategic investor who would construct a modern abattoir if the government has failed to do so.  

A typical characteristic of a modern slaughter house looks like this one.

Just a week after the government closed down the Ukonga Mazizini abattoir for operating in unhygienic conditions, traders shifted their operation to the nearby Vingunguti slaughter house which according to the supervisor Dr Juma Nganyangi, the area could not accommodate the number of cows slaughtered thus worsening its already filthy environment. Earlier reports by this paper revealed mid this week that, slaughtering and skinning work at the abattoir was being done in large area used as car parking by people coming to pick up meat at the abattoir, this is because of the fact that spaces available inside were full. Ukonga Mazizini abattoir was closed down by the minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Environment), Dr Terezya Huvisa for operating in unhygienic conditions an aspect that posed a serious health hazards and threat to meat consumers in the city of Dar es Salaam. The abattoir was later ordered open to resume its operation on Tuesday this week. It can be recalled that, fourteen years ago, the defunct Dar es Salaam City Commission (DCC) which was charged with revitalizing various cities’ economic and social development activities had put in its long term strategic plans to construct a modern slaughter house whose implementation up to now is not yet in place. Plans by the DCC had some significance to cope with the growing trend of the population which currently is estimated to be about 4.5 million people living in Dar es Salaam city and its surrounding suburbs, also to have quality meat being supplied in hygienic manner. The DCC’s initiated plans under the chairmanship of Charles Keenja as a principal architect behind the move seems to be faltering and the successors of the DCC which changed its operations in early 2000 and became Dar es Salaam City Council controlling the three Municipal councils of Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni seemed to have put the plans in drawing boards. For the last two weeks a follow up was made on the project to see of its implementation as per the program set since it was announced over a decade ago, but virtually discovered that the whole plan has been put out of the budget due to financial squeeze. The building was initially planned to be constructed near Kiltex industrial premises site along the road to Pugu Auction market at Gongo La Mboto on the city’s outskirts, and would require huge investment of money on its completion. However, efforts to contact the Director of Ilala Municipal Council, Mwendahasara Maganga in his office early this week for comments proved futile, but his close aid who preferred anonymity said in an exclusive interview that, the council is now looking for a strategic investor who would build the abattoir as the municipal council is no longer able to afford the highly expensive costs for a modern abattoir.  He said the Municipal Council has set aside special areas which have been designed for the allocation of the abattoir for such an investment. He named the areas as Kitunda, Chanika and anywhere else within Ilala district which could be more convenient for the allocation of such a modern facility. Contacted for comments on the investment matters, the Executive Director of Tanzania Investment Centre Juliet Kairuki said last week in Dar es Salaam that, among the areas which is not properly invested is on modern abattoirs which she said have more investment opportunities in the country. She said in an exclusive interview that, her centre is looking now and then at least to get strategic investors in this area for the city of Dar es Salaam so as to help meat traders in the city to run smoothly with their daily operational activities.  Currently Tanzania has one modern abattoir in Arusha city which was built in collaboration with the British government in mid 1990s. In Dar es Salaam, other city's abattoirs which are privately owned are located in areas of Kimara, Mbagala and Tegeta suburb. The only abattoir owned by the government is the one located at Vingunguti suburb.

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