Ethiopia unexpectedly recorded over USD 600,000 in exports from the shipment of 492 tons of processed donkey meat and skin during the recently concluded fiscal year. Despite the government’s ban on donkey product exports this year, Rhong Chang, one of Ethiopia’s two donkey slaughterhouses located in Asella, Oromia Regional State, became the sole source for these exports, as the other facility in Bishoftu remained non-operational.
The government’s intervention and community awareness programs led to the resumption of operations at Rhong Chang, a Chinese-based company, with approval granted by Debele Lemma, the head of the Meat and Dairy Industry Development Institute. Despite facing initial opposition, the company, which was built with a capital of 60 million birr and the capacity to slaughter 300 donkeys per day, resumed operations after a seven-year shutdown. The community came to understand the potential benefits and job opportunities the company could bring.
Originally established to curb the smuggling of live donkeys into Kenya, the second Chinese abattoir, Shang Dong, located in Bishoftu town and with a capacity to slaughter 200 donkeys a day, ceased production in 2017 following public protests and social media backlash.
In the broader context, Ethiopia experienced a positive trend in meat exports, with about 14 meat exporters generating USD 119 million in revenue, surpassing the planned USD 93 million for the last financial year. The majority of cattle meat exports were destined for Saudi Arabia and Dubai.