Monday, June 1, 2015

Dar meat traders blasts city officials for failure to build modern abattoir

SOME meat traders in Dar es Salaam have expressed their disappointment over what they described to be a failure by the Dar es Salaam City Council (DCC) to fulfill its long standing promise of constructing a modern abattoir in order to enable them conduct slaughter activities in hygienic environment. The call by meat traders has come hardly three weeks after Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA) ordered an immediate closure of two major slaughtering houses of Ukonga-Mazizini and that one of Vingunguti owned by the Ilala Municipal Council in Dar es Salaam region. The authority’s officials declared the two slaughtering houses as excessively dirty and therefore posing a threat to the health of meat consumers in Dar es Salaam city suburbs and its environs. Speaking in an exclusive interview mid 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 fifteen years ago a situation that forces them to continue slaughtering their cows in dilapidated abattoirs. Meat traders echoed their grave concern when contacted by this paper with a view to find out their way forward amid reported news that about 400 workers who earlier engaged their activities at such  slaughtering houses have been rendered jobless. 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 when it 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 that do not match with the available infrastructure. Maurice Chacha, a famous meat seller at Gongo La Mbotto market said that, as the population keeps on increasing in Dar es Salaam city, there is a need for the government to look for an appropriate ways in order to build a modern abattoir in the city. He is of the view of the fact that, Dar es Salaam which is now growing into a metropolitan city need to have a modern slaughtering facility in order to cope with the increased demands to honour its status instead of depending on the outdated ones. 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. He wondered and said that, “it is 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. However, he has called on the authorities concerned to look for a strategic investor who would construct a modern abattoir if the government has failed to do so. Just three weeks now after the government closed down the two abattoirs, investigations by this paper has discovered that, there is a sudden rise of meat prices in most Dar es Salaam butcher shops operating in the city. Investigations shows that, the price of one kilogram of an ordinary meat has risen by almost 20 percent from Sh. 5,000 to Sh. 6,000, whereas that of a steak meat is now fetched at Sh. 7,500 from Sh. 6,500. Investigations has further discovered that, cow slaughters have shifted their operation to unauthorized places whereby meat is not inspected according to the health meat supervisor Dr Juma Nganyangi a situation is likely to pose health hazards to consumers. Efforts to contact the DCC’ Information officer Gaston Makwembe to talk on the progressive investments for a modern abattoir proved futile. But his aid who spoke on the matter on strict anonymity said that, plans are still underway and the feasibility study is complete. However he added that “the DCC is still looking a strategic investor who would build the abattoir to serve meat consumers from three municipal councils of Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni as they are no longer able to afford the highly expensive costs for a modern abattoir”. It can be recalled that, fourteen years ago, the defunct Dar es Salaam City Commission 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. Statistics made available by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC)  on the investment matters, shows that among the areas which is not properly invested is on modern abattoirs which have more investment opportunities in the country. The Executive Director of Tanzania Investment Centre Juliet Kairuki was recently quoted by the media as saying that her centre is striving hard 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 city, Vingunguti is the onlyn designated abattoir owned by the government while others which are located in areas of Kimara, Mbagala and Tegeta suburbs are privately owned.

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