Nasiriyah, Iraq- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) is taking advantage of a unique opportunity to improve quality of life and the environment near Nasiriyah and the neighboring villages. The U.S. Department of State's Dhi Qar Provincial Reconstruction Team and USACE are working together to renovate the Nasiriyah Meat Processing Plant.

According to GRS Project Engineers Greg Croon, prior to rehabbing, the butchers could only process a few animals each day due to poor and unhealthy conditions of the plant.

"Most processing is taking place at various sites inside the township which is outside of any controlled health and environmental framework," Croon said. "Local legislation requires animal butchering only inside the facility. However, as the old facility was so neglected and rundown, there was no feasible ground for the municipal authorities to enforce this law."

Croon added that if no action was taken to provide an appropriate processing environment, the present conditions may lead to serious health hazard for the urban population.

The provincial reconstruction team recommended a total rehab of the old facility. "The rehabilitation of the processing plant will allow healthy meat processing procedures for the township of Nasiriyah and neighboring villages," said Dhi Qar PRT Agricultural Advisor, Giuliano Masini.

"This will reflect positively not only on the overall health environment of the urban area but should increase revenues generated by improved storage, increased meat processing and handling capacity and higher quality standards."

To alleviate the unhealthy conditions, the USACE's Iraqi contractor Al-Rafdain Company is also installing new, prefabricated ancillary buildings for meat by-products processing, meat chillers, construction of a waste treatment unit and a new water supply system, supply of processing equipment and rehabilitation of some features inside the main processing hall at a cost of $2.5 million.

Training on handling and maintenance of the new equipment is being provided as part of the supply contract. "This is a key point to the success of the enterprise," Masini said.

It is estimated that given the high demand of meat and increasing urban population, the plant will generate revenues that will cover the operation, maintenance and financial costs. However, stressed Masini, the city must work hard on a good management plan, appoint a qualified administrator and skilled technical persons to run this renewed facility with modern business methods.

As an added benefit the newly rehabilitated plant is expected to employ about 120 workers daily. "The plant will grow from 20 to 65 butchers, at least twice as many will be operating in the rehabilitated premises and other jobs will be created downstream," said Masini.


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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16