Meat prices jump as supply of quality animals drops

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Summary

  • The wholesale prices of meat had increased since October to between Sh7,500 and Sh8,000 per kilo, compared to previous prices that hovered around Sh6,000 and Sh6,500.

Dar es Salaam. Meat consumers should brace for tough times ahead as cattle prices rise to record levels due to a slowdown in supply of quality animals as drought ravages livestock keepers.

On the contrary, the price of poor-quality livestock has declined as keepers seek to dispose of them for fear of facing losses if the animals die due to drought.

With a reduced supply of quality animals, data collected by The Citizen shows that the price of cattle at Dar es Salaam’s Pugu Market for the week ending November 23 jumped by 6.5 percent compared to the previous week.

The price of the first-class cattle climbed from Sh1.97 million the preceding week to Sh2.1 million last week, according to data from the Meat Board of Tanzania.

The board’s marketing operations manager, Mr John Chasama, said the trend was triggered by scarcity due to a shortage of pasture.

He said the price of a second-grade cow rose from Sh1 million during the preceding week to Sh1.15 million last week.

“Drought has contributed to the increase in cattle prices because healthy cows are now rarely available,” Mr Chasama told The Citizen.

“You can’t sell unhealthy cows in the market because even their meat isn’t good, so you have to travel far and wide looking for healthy ones, which is costly.”

The rise in cattle prices has compelled meat consumers to dig deeper into their pockets to get the product.

The chairman of the Livestock and Livestock Products Traders Association, Mr Joel Meshaki, said the wholesale prices of meat had increased since October to between Sh7,500 and Sh8,000 per kilo, compared to previous prices that hovered around Sh6,000 and Sh6,500.

This had a trickle-down effect on the retail prices, which rose to between Sh9,000 and Sh10,500, depending on the respective places.

“Climate change has caused drought, which has led to a decrease in livestock feed and reduced the quality of cattle needed in the market on time,” Mr Meshaki said.

“We expect the price to skyrocket even further due to the shortage of cattle in the market.”

“Unlike last year, this year the price has risen earlier, and considering the fact that we are heading towards the holiday season, there is a possibility that the price will rise more,” he added.

Last year, he said, the wholesale price did not reach Sh8,000.

The highest price during the year was quoted at between Sh7,200 and Sh7,500.

Mr Meshaki said that they could slaughter 450 to 500 cows per day at the Vingunguti abattoir.

He added that at the Ukonga Mombasa abattoir, they could slaughter between 500 and 550 cows a day.

He said during this period last year, they were slaughtering 550 to 600 cows on weekdays.

Under the period of reference during the weekend, the figure was 650 to 1000.