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Burao Slaughterhouse Sets a Milestone in the Somali Meat Industry
November 28, 2013, Burao - The investment by the United Kingdom in one of the biggest and most modern slaughterhouses in Somalia will significantly contribute towards improving Somalia's ailing meat industry, which has seen little development for the last two decades. Burao is located in the Horn of Africa region where livestock forms the basis of rural economy and livelihoods. Addressing a gathering at a handover ceremony in Burao, Abdirahman Zeilici, Somaliland's Vice President described the facility as "the best opportunity for Somalis to explore exporting meat after years of exporting live animals to the Middle East."

In 2012, Somalia exported 4.7 million animals to the Gulf States, a trade that has grown exponentially since 2009 when Saudi Arabia lifted a 9-year ban on livestock from Somalia. UKaid's Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Programme (SEED), implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, working with other organizations, has invested more than GBP 15 million to boost country's leading economic earner supporting up to 65 percent of the Somali population.

Hazardous Slaughtering

Burao's communities consume an average of 750 animals daily, yet the town's current scattered slaughter facilities remain largely underdeveloped. In fact, it is nothing more but an open-air slab. No meat storage facilities, such as fridges or chillers, are available and electricity is so unreliable that the workers, who slaughter at night, are often forced to work by torchlight. Further, there are no health and quality assurance measures in place. Meat is sold at an open-air market, exposing it to heat, dirt and insects. Poor disposal of slaughter waste exposes the public to pollution and noxious air. Blood and the liquid waste seep into the ground causing underground water contamination. Vultures and stray dogs roam the grounds.

Growth in Sight

Burao's new, state-of-the-art slaughterhouse has the capacity to process 1500 sheep and goats and 120-150 camels/cattle daily—potentially covering for a bigger demand than the current consumption in Burao. It has been furnished with modern equipment that will improve efficiency, hygiene and the working conditions for the staff. To ensure optimal abattoir operation and maximum hygiene compliance an overhead line-slaughter system has been installed. A borehole and a 45,000 litre water tank and generator will guarantee the availability of running water and power. In the initial phase the plant will process 750 heads of livestock per day, with the view of increasing the production by 100 per cent to also meet the future demands of the export market. The facility will be inaugurated in the coming months and managed through a public private partnership involving the Somaliland authorities and the private sector.

"FAO has and will continue to pioneer large infrastructural interventions in the livestock sector with a goal of reinforcing the largest contributor to the Somali economy." said Rudi van Aaken, FAO's Officer-in-Charge for Somalia. "With the Burao slaughterhouse, we hope to create more jobs and income by opening new avenues including markets beyond borders."

More about SEED

Now in phase two, the SEED programme has so far registered other milestones including; generation of 154,127 jobs, of which 56,904 are long term, in Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia, 5,700 beneficiaries have received demand-driven technical training along the livestock value chain; 70% are employed or self-employed; Hargeisa livestock and Boroma meat and Garowe fish markets have been constructed and are managed under public-private partnership, all attributable to the SEED programme. The SEED programme is in the process of rolling out a microfinance component to benefit mainly women to start income generating activities.

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