Foot and mouth dis­ease, fuel push up beef price

The East African - - BUSINESS - By HAL­IMA AB­DAL­LAH

MEAT PRICES in Uganda are ris­ing on ac­count of high lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional de­mand, blamed on foot and mouth dis­ease af­fect­ing cat­tle across the coun­try.

Over the past one month, a kilo­gramme of beef has in­creased 20 per cent, from $2.70 to $3.24 in Kam­pala. Goat meat is sell­ing at $3.80, up from $3.24.

Muhamed Nsub­uga, sec­re­tary of the Abat­toir Traders De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, blames the price in­crease on de­mand af­ter schools closed for the hol­i­days, the forth­com­ing Christ­mas fes­tiv­i­ties and low sup­ply due to dis­ease.

“The sup­ply of cat­tle, goats, sheep is low but the de­mand is high, par­tic­u­larly now be­cause the chil­dren are back home from school and par­ents are buy­ing more meat, but the fes­tive sea­son is also here so de­mand will in­crease. The higher prices are due to the quar­an­tine be­cause of the dis­ease, mean­ing there are fewer an­i­mals for sale,” said Mr Nsub­uga.

The Egypt-uganda Food Se­cu­rity Abat­toir, which has the ca­pac­ity to slaugh­ter 1,000 cat­tle daily for ex­port to Egypt, is now threat­ened be­cause of the re­duced sup­ply of cat­tle. The com­pany in­vested $11 mil­lion in the com­plex but has not sourced as much beef for ex­port as an­tic­i­pated, fol­low­ing un­met live­stock sup­plies.

Sources told The Eastafrican that Chi­nese traders have also re­quested beef sup­plies.

But foot and mouth dis­ease has been a great con­cern since an out­break in west­ern Uganda, Bu­ganda and Karamoja in Oc­to­ber 2017. The Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture im­posed a quar­an­tine to pre­vent a spread of the dis­ease. Foot and mouth is an in­fec­tious and some­times fa­tal vi­ral dis­ease that af­fects cloven-hoofed an­i­mals.

Uganda has 14.3 mil­lion cat­tle, ac­cord­ing to the 2016 data from the Uganda Bu­reau of Statis­tics. The quar­an­tine means that fewer heads of live­stock reach the mar­ket. At farm gate, an av­er­age cow now costs Ushi mil­lion ($270), up from Ush800,000 ($216). The mid­dle­men sell it for $350 af­ter fac­tor­ing in trans­port costs.

Also af­fect­ing sup­plies are trans­port costs. Fuel prices have been on the rise since the be­gin­ning of the year and have reached an un­prece­dented $1.15 per litre.

Pic­ture: File

Beef cat­tle at a farm.

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