Goat prices likely to rise on higher freight costsDashain revellers may need a fatter wallet during the meat-heavy festival as goat prices are expected to increase due to a rise in freight charges.
Dashain revellers may need a fatter wallet during the meat-heavy festival as goat prices are expected to increase due to a rise in freight charges. The meat animals, which are slaughtered in their hundreds of thousands during the feast, are likely to cost 20 percent more than last year, traders said.
Dealers expect live goat prices to reach Rs550 to Rs570 per kg, up from last year’s Rs470, owing to a drop in domestic production and increased transportation costs of imports.
Likewise, the price of mutton is expected to rise to Rs1,000 per kg, according to the Nepal Livestock Traders Association.
The market sees a massive rise in meat prices after Ghatasthapana day, the first day of the fortnight-long festival, as traders usually seek to make a killing during the festive rush. Ghatasthapana falls on September 21 this year. Buffalos, goats, chickens and ducks running into hundreds of thousands are killed across the country to appease the Hindu Goddess Durga and provide meat for the extended feasting.
“Apart from Dashain, local elections scheduled to be held in Province 2 on September 18 has also driven demand for meat higher as candidates seek to attract voters by treating them to lavish feasts,” said Deepak Thapa, former president and patron of the Nepal Livestock Traders Association.
“The gap between demand and supply has pushed up prices,” he said. “Live goat prices are determined by traders. If the government fails to intervene or monitor the market, prices of live goats could jump to Rs600 per kg.”
Last year, the government had imposed a price ceiling for chicken and goat meat in the Kathmandu Valley in a bid to prevent possible price hikes during the festival. The government had forbidden meat shops to charge more than Rs285 per kg for chicken and Rs850 per kg for mutton.
A large number of livestock perished in last month’s floods in the Tarai region coinciding with a fall in local production. Nearly 90 percent of the country’s requirement of goat will be imported from India this year, said Thapa.
According to Thapa, demand in the Valley is likely to exceed 65,000 goats while another 10,000-15,000 animals are expected to be slaughtered during the election campaign.
He said that increased transportation costs from India, haphazard taxes imposed at customs points and tolls collected by district coordination committees have made goats more expensive when they arrive in the Valley. “These burdens are passed on to consumers,” said Thapa.
Private traders are expected to bring 8,000 to 10,000 mountain goats from Mustang this year. The price of live mountain goats is also expected to rise to Rs850 per kg, from last year’s Rs700.
State-owned Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) has said it will supply 2,500 animals and private traders will deliver the rest. There are around 400 traders dealing in goats in the main markets of the Valley.
NFC supplies a small quantity of goats, and the move is directed more at intervening in the market to keep prices stable than fulfilling the total requirement. According to the Department of Customs, Nepal imported 327,897 live goats in the last fiscal year. The live animal import bill came to Rs1.93 billion.
According to the Ministry of Livestock Development, a Nepali eats 12 kg of meat per year on average. In the developing countries, average meat consumption per person is about 14 kg per year. Nepal’s per capita meat consumption was 9.8 kg per year in 2008 and 9.7 kg in 2000.
The country’s meat production currently stands at 318,000 tonnes. Buffalo is the most popular meat among Nepalis followed by goat, chicken and pig. According to the ministry, buffalo meat accounts for 58 percent of the total meat production.
Mutton is the second most popular meat product after buff, making up 20 percent of the country’s meat requirement. Chicken production fulfils 13 percent of the country’s meat requirement.