RWANDA – Abattoir operators in Gakenke and Musanze districts in the Northern Province of Rwanda have voiced concerns over the persistent practice of unauthorized home slaughtering, adversely affecting their meat businesses.
The shortage of animals for slaughter is impacting both private and public slaughterhouses, including the Gakenke Slaughter House operated by SOSEFIK LTD, leading to a reduction in their operational capacities.
Mark Gakwavu, Manager of the Gakenke Slaughter House, revealed that they are currently operating at only 30% of their capacity due to a shortage of animals.
He expressed concerns about the ongoing practice of slaughtering in undesignated places, such as homes or remote areas, urging local authorities and security organizations to promote the use of recognized slaughter areas.
Theobard Niyigaba Ikuzwe, a Veterinarian for Gakenke Slaughterhouse, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the prevalence of traditional slaughtering methods in the local community.
“These methods, including the use of banana leaves and hidden forest locations, are significantly impacting the abattoir’s operations.”
Niyigaba also emphasized the importance of processing all animals at district slaughterhouses for the safety of meat consumed by the public.
In Musanze, Jean Marie Vianney Sindibona, owner of a pork slaughterhouse, raised a similar issue concerning the availability of swine for slaughter.
He emphasized the concerns about the impact of illegal home slaughtering on the operations of designated slaughterhouses.
Maurice Mugabowagahunde, Governor of the Northern Province, informed about measures being taken to address illegal home slaughtering.
He emphasized that home slaughter is prohibited, and efforts are underway to close substandard abattoirs based on recommendations from the Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA).
The goal is to have fewer but standard-compliant slaughterhouses while converting others into meat distributors.
Meanwhile, new measures, including a ban on meat street vendors, have been introduced to enhance the capacity of designated slaughterhouses. Increased inspections are planned to discourage unauthorized slaughtering and ensure food safety.
Rwanda’s Ministerial Order Nº 012/11.30 of 18/11/2010 on Animal Slaughtering and Meat Inspection explicitly prohibits slaughtering in undesignated places, with certain exceptions authorized by district authorities.
Data from RICA indicates that there are a total of 257 slaughterhouses in Rwanda, including 7 large, 12 medium, 28 small, and 200 unclassified facilities. The ongoing efforts aim to streamline the sector, ensuring compliance with regulations and promoting food safety standards.