“Our Target Is To Construct A Modern Slaughterhouse”

Denis Koulagna Koutou, Director General of the Livestock Development Corporation (SODEPA)

The processing of animal-by-product in Cameroon is experiencing a major setback, what has SODEPA done so far to revamp this sector?


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The main problem is that the slaughterhouse is no longer in conformity to what it is supposed to be.  The only solution is for us to build a modern one that takes into consideration all the norms of a slaughterhouse. There is no way we can keep investing in an area where it is completely obsolete. The Slaughterhouse in Yaounde is an old building that one cannot even manage and even when we try to manage, it creates more problems because people are living around. We have rehabilitated the building several times but it is still not in conformity with the norms. We tried to fix the old processing machines but it was impossible because there are no spare parts. We even launched a call for interest but no company showed up. Remember that when the slaughterhouse was created at Etoudi, nobody was living around, but with the demographic boom, the area has become inhabited. The only thing we are working on now with government and partners is to move and construct a modern slaughterhouse that will harbour all necessary features including the processing of by-products.  This will hold in all slaughterhouses that we plan to rehabilitate or construct in Cameroon. We are going to start with Douala and move down to other parts of the country.


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These by-products are deposited in the environment. How are they dangerous to human life?


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We are working very hard to see that the by-products do not cause a nuisance to the population. In the case of blood, we have well specialised channels in all slaughterhouses in Cameroon. The channel sends the blood to a distant place. At times, some people even come to carry it for different purposes. This is one of the reasons why we are doing everything possible to move from where we are now at Etoudi because a slaughterhouse cannot be found in a city centre. One of the major criteria of a slaughterhouse is that it should be far from human habitat, so that all the waste does not pollute the environment. The mentality of some Cameroonians are equally very low when it comes to managing the environment. Some Cameroonians do not even know what is good meat. 


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What exactly do you mean by good meat?


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Some Cameroonians think that good meat is that which has blood flowing from it. That is why they prefer some local slaughterhouses. Good meat is that which has been properly cut, allowed to drip and kept in the cold house for at least 48 hours before consumption. It is unfortunate that Cameroonians want to buy meat, which has just been slaughtered. 


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Can you estimate how much SODEPA has lost so far during these years of inactivity?


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What we are losing is negligible. I say this because we slaughter an average of 4,000 cows per day. What quantity of by product can be produced from this? Can it produce fertilisers to be used in a large piece of land? I think the answer is no. Secondly, there are very few industries in Cameroon in need of the by-product.  Where we think we are losing in the use of animal waste is in the production of gas. We actually need this energy in the slaughterhouse to turn the machines. If we get to the level of producing biogas that will be used just within the industry, it will go a long way to reduce cost of production.


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