Bird Flue scare records fall in imports, drive up price of goat meat in Kathmandu

Kathmandu, 4th May 2019

Goat meat has become dearer by around Rs150 per kg in the Kathmandu Valley over the past month, mainly due to a fall in imports of live animals from India and a surge in demand caused by consumers switching to goat from chicken over a bird flu scare.

According to traders, the price of goat meat rose to Rs1,200 per kg from Rs1,000-1,050. Anil Khadgi, former vice-chairman of the Nepal Fish and Meat Sellers Association, said goat imports had plunged by 40-45 percent over the last month. “Shipments were obstructed after India sealed its borders for the ongoing general election there,” said Khadgi. 

Imports also slowed after the government made it mandatory for traders to produce a quarantine certificate while importing live goats from the southern neighbour. “Indian authorities have also made it compulsory to obtain the certificate before exporting livestock to Nepal,” Khadgi added.

Chandra Dhakal, information officer at the Department of Livestock Services, said the department recently issued the rule for importers.

According to him, the government has also started charging a 5 percent customs duty on livestock imported from India. “As a result, the import of live goats went down by 27 percent in the first nine months of the fiscal year,” Dhakal said.

According to the association, the Kathmandu Valley consumes around 90,000 kg of goat meat daily.

The surge in the price of live goats and their meat is also due to a sudden rise in demand.

Prem Bahadur Shrestha, owner of Prem Fresh Meat Shop, said he used to buy live goats for Rs560 per kg a month ago, and now has has to pay Rs670 per kg. Shrestha, who has been keeping the shop at Sinamangal for the past decade, said that demand for goat meat had jumped almost threefold in the last one month.

The statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development show that goat meat accounts for 20 percent of the country’s meat requirement. It is estimated that more than 10 million goats are reared in the

country. In the last fiscal year, Nepal produced 375,000 tonnes of goat meat.

Makwanpur, Dang, Nuwakot and Sindhupalchok districts are the main sources of live goats for the valley. Imported live goats mainly come from Uttar Pradesh state of India.

As per government statistics, Nepal’s annual per capita meat consumption is estimated at 12 kg. The government aims to increase it to 14 kg per person. Meat consumption per person was 9.8 kg in 2008 and 9.7 kg in 2000. Nepal has a long way to go to achieve self-sufficiency in goat meat production. - The Kathmandu Times

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