Rwanda Meat Industry Loses Billions Due to Poor Standards

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With a growing number of five star hotels, global conferences Rwandans have not cashed in on the meat needed to feed guests as a result of fear of having the ‘flying meat effect’ among hoteliers.

This has been partly caused by the fact that no Rwandan meat supplier has been certified to supply meat which meets international standards –commonly known as the ‘SMark’ Standardization Mark.

The question is what has been happening to Rwandan meat? Rwanda meat suppliers buy meat that has only been inspected by vets without analyzing the standard of meat- from the farmers to the end user.

Experts says that most local beef is believed to be hard as result of animals going through stressful transport procedures, unchecked animal feeds, and lots of drugs consumed by animals as a result of exposure to disease.

“Local suppliers have not been keen to the meat value chain and that is why no hotel can buy this kind of meat unless it is certified and has been monitored from the farmer, slaughter house to the end user” said Jean Pierre Bageneza, a product certification officer at Rwanda Standards Bureau (RSB).

In the meantime, high-end hotels and flight catering services have continued to purchase meat imported from as far as South Africa, to avoid embarrassment of guests eating locally processed meat that is said to be hard as a result of loopholes in the value chain.

For example five star hotels Marriot Hotel Kigali and ESR-Rwanda- a flight catering company, import an undisclosed tons of meat from South African to meet the local market demand.

“Rwanda being a country endowed with lots of livestock, it is unimaginable that we cannot be able to supply meat as a result of not meeting the international standard. We need to act now” said Joy Bamwenge, the SME Development Expert at RDB.

Figures from the Statistics Year Book – 2016 indicate that Meat exports volumes (Kg) have increased from 3,655,694 in 2014-2015 to 5,470,946.28 Kgs in 2015-2016, with an increase in Revenues from over USD12.9million to USD19.2million.

Most of this meat is however supplied to the neighboring countries (especially DR Congo) and the rest is consumed locally leaving a gap in tapping into the big money in the hotels and aviation sector

To close this gap, RDB and RSB has tasked suppliers to up their game, and by providing a training on Hazzard Analysis and Critical Control points (HACC) 60 meat processing firms may see a chance of getting SMark certified.

.Statistics from RSB indicate that so far 369 products from Rwanda has the SMark. These include milk, cereals, drinking water among others which are sold on the international and regional market, but not meat from Rwanda.





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