MASERU — The National Abattoir and Feedlot Complex, Lesotho’s only national abattoir, failed to resume operations as expected on Monday due to an ammonia leakage last Saturday.
The abattoir will be run by a local firm, Meraka Company.
The abattoir’s marketing manager, Thabo Qhesi, told the Lesotho Times on Monday that the delay had been caused by a leakage in some of the pipes at the abattoir.
“On Saturday there was leakage in the pipes containing ammonia. The leakage has since been contained. But we are waiting for that to clear,” he said.
Ammonia is used to cool fridges at the abattoir.
Qhesi said they believe operations will resume by the end of this week.
“Before the end of this week, things will be under control and then we can start,” he said.
In an interview with the Lesotho Times last Wednesday, the company’s chairperson `Mammako Molapo said the resumption of operations will provide a stable market for local farmers.
“The abattoir will buy livestock from local farmers and at the same time provide employment which could revive the agricultural sector,” Molapo said.
The slaughter house, situated about five kilometres north of Maseru, will initially process beef and mutton with pork products being processed later.
Molapo said the company was expecting to provide jobs to about 100 people when the abattoir is fully operational.
“Currently we are repairing equipment at the ponds for waste treatment which will take about a month from now,” she said.
Molapo said the company will start by importing carcasses from South Africa until they start their own slaughtering processes.
Meraka Company signed a sub-lease agreement with the National Abattoir and Feedlot in 2008 but was not able to generate enough funds to resume operations because the equipment at the abattoir had fallen into a state of neglect.
Molapo said they had joined hands with a locally registered company, Aquila Ltd, to resuscitate the abattoir.
Aquila Ltd is owned by some South Africans and Chinese nationals “with experience in the field of abattoir and feedlot management”.
She said local meat producers will receive training on the best breeds of livestock they should rear to increase their production and sales.
“Products from the abattoir will be certified. Consumers can be assured that proper standards of hygiene will be applied in processing the meat,” she said.
The abattoir has a processing capacity of about 36 400 per year and cold storage facilities capable of handling 200 tonnes.
Previously, the slaughtering of livestock was being carried out at private places which made it almost impossible to control stock theft.
Molapo said livestock bought by Meraka will have proper documentation to curb the high stock theft in the country.