Modern US$2.5M abattoir could end beef imports

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The Government hopes to end the importation of beef with the construction of a new state-of-the-art abattoir for which $95 million has been allocated to begin construction next year.

The overall project will cost US$2.5 million and will be completed in 2020, the Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder announced during Tuesday’s consideration of the budget estimates.

He said the intention is to have a public/private partnership for the management of the abattoir, which is being built at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice.

Holder said the country is self-sufficient, but a small amount of beef is imported as some hotels, like the Marriott, and the Canadian mining company at Aurora mines require special cuts of meat.

The abattoir would be able to make the cuts required according to international standards.

“We need a proper abattoir,” Holder declared and for it to be managed by those experienced in those fields.

The beef industry is ranked as one of the oldest in the local livestock sector, with an estimated number of heads of about 200,000.

The Rupununi was the main cattle industry and was known for its beef cattle until the 1970s when foot and mouth disease halted exports to the coastland.

According to the Livestock Authority, the best days for beef cattle was between 1970 and1990s.

During that period, there was the Ebini ranch, which was owned by the Livestock Development Company, which functioned as the premier breeding centre.

In 2010, under the Agriculture Diversification Programme, the Livestock Authority was set up.

Funding for the rehabilitation of the research facility at Ebini was approved in the 2019 budget.

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