By Wilson Asiimwe
The decision by Fort Portal central division council to register pork joints in the central business area of the city has caused mixed reactions among pork dealers.
Several pork dealers claim that the move is aimed at evicting them from the town.
During its most recent council meeting, councillors asked the executive, headed by mayor central division Richard Muhumuza, to ensure that all the pork dealers are registered.
“We are not intending to evict the pork dealers, but we need to regulate their business within the town and that was a council decision,” Muhumuza said.
The pork dealers are demanding the establishment of an abattoir for pigs because there are hundreds of pork joints within the central business area.
“If council wants to regulate the pork business, let them construct an abattoir,” Gilbert Businge, one of the pork dealers, said.
He argued that the absence of a slaughterhouse compromises the quality of the pork sold to the public since nobody monitors their activities.
“Each pork dealer slaughters his pig the way he deems fit. In some parts, they still hit the pigs on the heads to death. The council has failed to gazette a slaughter area for pigs,” Businge said. “Some of our colleagues transport meat on the dusty roads without proper covering, which compromises its quality.”
Irene Ayebale, who owns a pork joint in Fort Portal town, said the failure by the authorities to supervise and monitor the activities of the pork joints exposes consumers to health risks.
“We welcome the move by the city councillors, but let them first carry out sensitisation because they are going to face a lot of resistance. Some of the pork joints are in bad conditions, but they need to be helped to improve,” she explained.
Ayebale said gazetting a slaughterhouse for pigs would not only improve the quality of the pork, but will also generate revenue for the municipality.
Julius Tumusiime, a retired veterinary officer who is currently in private practice, said: “Fort Portal is one of the fastest-growing towns. It is high time the council started regulating the pork industry.”