The Lagos State Government has employed 25 veterinary doctors to boost agricultural reforms in the red meat value chain in the state.
The State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who announced this at the commissioning of a new semi-mechanized Abattoir in Bariga, Lagos, explained that the gesture would boost the required personnel to drive the reforms of the red meat value chain in the state.
According to Sanwo-Olu, “We have also just given the Ministry of Agriculture the necessary approval to employ additional 25 additional veterinary doctors in the state so that we can have all of the complete skills that is required for this industry. Not only are we doing it for ourselves, but we are also doing it for the future; for the generation that is coming behind us,” he stated.
The governor noted that the new semi-mechanized abattoir was a clear testimonial for other businesses to see and to learn from especially as it was in accordance with the state government’s ATM reform agenda in the red meat value chain where A stands for Abattoir, T for Transportation and M for Marketing.
“Lagos consumes well over 50 per cent of the total animal production in the country. If we’re consuming over 1.8 million cattle and about 1.6 million sheep and goats, it means that we can indeed create a big ecosystem; a big controlled, managed, the clean industry in our red meat value chain,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He added that the state government owns eleven of the 16 abattoirs in the state hence, there was the need for more private sector participation in the value chain in order to drive the State Government’s roadmap in the agriculture sector as it relates to making Lagos a 21st Century economy.
Earlier, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) noted that new semi-mechanized abattoir would provide no fewer than 800 direct and indirect jobs in the community adding that with a facility like that employment would be created for butchers, veterinary doctors, cleaners, and many others.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya disclosed that the semi-mechanized abattoir would be able to slaughter 100 to 150 cattle per day and about 80 to 120 sheep and goats.
“Lagos is the largest market for cattle in Sub Saharan Africa. We receive over 1.8 million herds of cattle and over 1.9 to 2 million herds of sheep and goats on an annual basis.
Meantime, Olusanya added that the state government will on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, begin a two-week free mass anti-rabies vaccination campaign programme to curb the menace of rabies in the state.
She explained that vaccination campaign aimed at promoting awareness of rabies among dogs and cats since rabies is a deadly disease mostly transmitted to humans through infected dogs’ bites which can result in fatalities if not treated early.
The commissioner stressed that the need for the campaign arose as a result of the increase in reported cases of canine rabies across the state making it a persistent endemic problem.
According to her, 6,250 vaccines donated by the World Organization for Animal Health, OIE, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, to the Lagos state government would be administered to dogs and cats that are made available at any of the state Government Veterinary Clinics in the five divisions of the State including Badagry, Surulere, Ajah, Ikorodu, and Agege among others.
“Rabies is one of the oldest communicable under-reported zoonotic diseases. Dogs are responsible for 98 per cent of fatality in humans. Annually, hundreds of human deaths are recorded globally despite the fact that rabies is preventable through vaccination, public awareness and responsible ownership.
“The flag-off programme takes place at Oba Ayangburen’s Palace, Ikorodu,” Olusanya said.
The commissioner noted that rabies is most common in countries where stray dogs are present in large numbers especially in Asia and Africa and could be contacted if the saliva from an infected animal got into an open wound or through the eyes or mouth of a human being.
Olusanya stated that rabies is a fatal disease that causes up to 59,000 deaths globally every year and as such it must be treated with all the seriousness it deserves by controlling and preventing its spread through regular vaccination of all pets and domestic animals against rabies.
She also stressed that a concerted effort must be made to control the stray dog population in the urban and rural areas for a significant reduction in the incidence of human and canine rabies in the State.
The commissioner, therefore, urged all dog owners to bring their dogs for vaccination at the designated veterinary clinics in the state.