The building of an export-oriented abattoir is on course, Isiolo Agriculture Executive Lawrence Mwongela has said.
Locals recently lamented the delayed completion of the facility that will process 474,000 animals annually, offering a favourable and reliable market for livestock products while also creating jobs for youths.
Dr Mwongela said redesigning work by a contractor from South Africa were underway to ensure the abattoir meets the required international standards before handing over to a private investor.
At least Sh1 billion has been pumped into the project that is set to join other abattoirs exporting meat to countries in the Middle East.
It will breathe life into Isiolo International Airport, which has struggled to pick up more than three years after it was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The slaughterhouse, whose construction started 14 years ago under the Vision 2030 programme, was in 2020 picked for the World Bank’s Sh800 million funding meant to equip and upgrade it to international standards.
During last week’s visit by a delegation from the Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, Dr Mwongela said expression-of-interest applications from investors had been closed and shortlisting would start.
“Redesigning is underway while we look for a private investor with vast experience and the capability of running the abattoir,” he said, assuring the public that the process will be expedited so that residents can start reaping benefits from the facility.
“We are alive to concerns by the public on the need to speed up the process and we are committed to operationalising the abattoir,” he added.
Game-changer in the Northern region
Julius Githinji, who is in charge of the abattoir, previously said walkways, a hides storage facility, a drainage system, a laboratory and an emergency slaughter area had been completed.
On completion, the abattoir will employ 80 people directly and benefit at least 20,000 livelihoods. It is estimated to create Sh400 million in revenue in seven years.
John Mbuthi, senior deputy director of the Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat in charge of economic and macro pillars, said the government was committed to ensuring the abattoir is completed.
“We will continue coordinating the implementation of the project in partnership with other stakeholders, among them the county government to ensure it is completed as soon as possible,” Mr Mbuthi said.
Flanked by Ministry of Livestock Director Moses Mburu, the official said the project will be a game-changer in the economies of the Northern region.
Meng’ino Lenawase, a herder ion Oldonyiro, said that before the abattoir is completed, the county government should come up with rules to ensure fair pricing for livestock so that farmers have a steady source of income.
County Livestock and Fisheries Chief Officer Benjamin Lopetet earlier called on young people to enrol for short-term courses to increase their chances of being hired at the abattoir, maintaining that only skilled workers will be employed.
The county government had in mid last year assured residents that the abattoir would be completed by February this year but later said it would be extended for a few months owing to procurement hiccups caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.