“Islanders love their meat”. Especially when it comes to the traditional lovo dish (earth oven baked food), there has to be meat in it. But have you ever wondered where all those yummy bacons, beef steaks and pork delicacies that you enjoy eating so much come from? Let me guide you into this mysterious world of value chain links for livestock (beef, sheep and pig).
During one of the field visits which were part of the programme of the Pacific Community AgriTourism Week, our first stop was at the Fiji meat limited, where the butchers dress the slaughtered animals flesh and prepares fresh cuts of meats from the Vuda piggery for sale. The butcher receives 50 – 60 carcasses per week. Apart from selling their meat to local customers, they also supply these to the hotels, supermarkets and restaurants.
Personally, I thought it was a good idea that the first stop was at the butchers’ as the group of participants we were travelling with were very familiar with what it was all about. Now the trip was getting more exciting as we travelled to the second stop where some of our fellow travellers had never been to before – an abattoir. I work for the animal health and production team at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and I am quite experienced with the livestock links on the value chain.
While some of the participant’s didn’t have the stomach to enter the abattoir, for others it was their first time in an abattoir and it was interesting to witness how keen they were to know more about how the animals were slaughtered. Over 100 cattles are slaughtered per month and around 200 for pigs. The farmers in the western division take their cattles to the abattoir to be slaughtered and inspected. Then finally the carcasses are delivered to the butchers.
Last stop was at the Vuda piggery where they have this massive piggery farm owned by Simon Cole. The farm rears pig for meat production and is the point of supplier to the abattoir and then to the butcher for sale. It is quite surprising to see how one piggery alone can cater for so much meat production for sale. The piggery had good management practice and also process its own feed which saves money.
Very often, we forget the importance of value chain in livestock production when we are enjoying our yummy local Pasifika delicacy. In other words, the link from paddocks to plates. We should be proud that our cuisine in the Pacific is very rich and that a wide variety of delicious meal comes from our locally grown and reared agricultural produce.
Blogpost by Elenoa Salele, Social Reporter for the Pacific Community AgriTourism Week 2015.