North West Agriculture and Rural Development MEC, Desbo Mohono, has welcomed the completion of the first departmentally-owned poultry abattoir in the province.
The facility is situated at Kgora Farmers Training Centre near Mahikeng, and it is the first of many projects currently ongoing at Kgora.
The new abattoir can slaughter up to 500 birds a day and it operates fully under the supervision of an independent meat inspector as it is the requirement by law.
It is fully compliant and has been registered as a low throughput abattoir.
Mohono said the facility is already benefiting the local farmers who are mostly newcomers to the poultry industry with limited resources and who cannot afford the cost of private abattoir services.
"The facility is one of many important interventions by the department aimed to improve the lives of communities in the rural areas, through infrastructure development. Among the department's goals with the establishment of facilities of this kind, is to give local food producers a platform to grow their businesses, the local economy and to create job opportunities.
"We have a meat inspector at the abattoir so we can confidently say to the farmers who are bringing in their chickens for slaughter that we are slaughtering under proper hygienic conditions," Mohono said.
The abattoir will also be used to train university students.
The MEC noted that the International Meat Quality Assurance Services (IMQAS) has recently trained a group of over 50 third-year animal health students from North West University in the facility, and they want to bring other universities.
A local farmer who is benefitting from the abattoir, Sipho Khoza from Bodibe Village, outside Mahikeng, said he is happy about the quality of services he has received from the abattoir.
Khoza, who runs a poultry business and employs 17 temporary workers, has used the facility to slaughter his chickens.
"I brought to the facility 200 chickens from my farm for slaughtering at this abattoir and after the service, all I can say is that I was happy. All of the chickens were sold to one of the local shops on the same day... I will definitely call again," said Khoza.
Founder and owner of Keatlaretse Tumediso Farming, Keatlaretse Mosiane from Ramatlabama, also praised the department for building a slaughterhouse that accommodates emerging poultry farmers.
"It was thoughtful of government to build such infrastructure to promote us emerging farmers," Mosiane said
Mosiane said at some stage she wanted to use one of the privately-owned abattoirs to slaughter her chickens but she was told the abattoir can only slaughter a minimum of 1000 chickens. At the time she had only 200 chickens.
"We are grateful for this facility and what the department has done for us as emerging farmers," Mosiane said.
The department said the facility stands ready to be used to train farmers who own, or want to own a poultry abattoir.
"For training offered at the Kgora Farmers Training Centre and all other requirements to utilise this departmental owned facility, farmers are encouraged to enquire with State Extension Officers or with their local agricultural area offices," the department said.