The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) inaugurated its integrated abattoir and meat factory in Giri, Gwagwalada Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Speaking at the ceremony on Monday, the Commissioner, Economic Affairs and Agriculture in ECOWAS, Madam Massanje Toure-Litse said that the project would be replicated in other ECOWAS member countries.
Toure-Litse reiterated ECOWAS readiness to continue to collaborate with NANTS on strengthening regional livestock trade that would add value to economic development of the West African region.
Earlier, the National President of NANTS, Dr Ken Ukaoha said that the project would facilitate best practices in meat handling, processing, preservation, package and logistics
Ukaoha said that modernizing the traditional method of meat slaughtering and processing by subjecting the process under hygienic conditions remained a mirage due to the huge capital investment involved in building modern facilities
According to him, that challenge was what informed the intervention by NANTS with the support of ECOWAS-RAAF and the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) to establish a modern abattoir.
“The abattoir will address the issues relating to animal slaughtering and ensure the sale of healthy meat to the public under very hygienic processing conditions that assures human health safety,’’ he said.
Ukaoha said that the project was implemented by NANTS with an integrated concept aimed at promoting humane slaughter of animals, profitable waste conversion mechanism and capacity building engagements with public abattoir butchers.
While saying that the project would create about 500 jobs, Ukaoha said that it would also boost economic activities in the FCT.
He said that the project would also serve as a training centre to butchers on international best practices, adding that some state governments had already indicated interest in similar projects that would be facilitated by NANTS.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, Alhaji Abu Giri commended the association for the project and said that it would serve as training and consultancy centre for the University of Abuja and other higher institutions within its environs.
The chairman expressed the council’s readiness to continue to support NANTS on projects that would promote trade and economic development of the area.
Also speaking, the Aguma of Giri, Alhaji Musa Wakili said the project would go a long way in empowering youths in the community
Wakili urged other associations to emulate NANTS on such economic developmental projects.