Meat prices begin to rise as supply declines

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By Anita Matsika New Vision/ NECJOGHA 

The prices of meat and its products is set to rise again , following a drop in the supply of animals for slaughter.

The reduced supply is a consequence of a fresh outbreak of the foot –and- mouth disease (FMD).

The supply, according to meat producers, has dropped by more than 49% over the last one year, following a quarantine that primarily has affected the cattle corridor districts of Ssembabule and Luwero and Nakasongola as well as eastern Uganda.

According to the Ugandan Meat Producers’ Co-Operative Union Limited, the sustained presence of FMD has also affected demand for Ugandan meat products abroad, especially in the European Union market.

“Because of FMD, we have a restriction on our meat products for export and domestic consumption,” Dr. Joshua waiswa , the union’s chief executive officer, said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the stakeholders’ consultative meeting in Kampala yesterday.

Waiswa said since the quarantine was imposed, farmers have suffered   big losses , as some of their cattle had died. He said it is also expensive to look after animals beyond their farm life.

Muhammad Twine, a cattle dealer in Kampala, said the price of meat has already started shooting up.

“Getting the animals is becoming hard, especially over the last two to three weeks. The price of a kilo of meat has now increased in some places by shs 1,000 from shs 12,000,” he said.

In 2014, foot-and- mouth disease hit about 30 districts across the country, forcing the Government impose a quarantine on the sale of beef and dairy products. The quarantine was lifted six months later.

Over the last four years, there have been reported cases of an on-off occurrence of FMD, until two weeks ago when it profoundly hit again, affecting Nakasongola, Ssembabule and eastern part of Uganda.

Waiswa said the persistent outbreaks have been due to acaricide-resistant ticks.

He appealed to the Government to fast-track the provision of vaccines against the deadly diseases.

Waiswa said the government should fast-track the development guidelines on the importation of acaricides.

“When the government banned the importation of the drugs by private players, it automatically meant that it was taking on the role of providing these drugs for us to purchase. However, we are now appealing to the Government to ensure that this role is sufficiently fulfilled,” he said.

Recently, the Government banned private players from dealing in animal drugs and vaccines. This was after the government discovered fake drugs on the market.

The state minister for trade, Michael werikhe, said the decision to kick private sector players out of the importation chain of animal drugs and vaccines was reached at during a cabinet meeting, which was chaired by President Yoweri Museveni.

He said the importation of fake vaccines into the country is currently a subject of investigations by the joint team from the criminal investigations department of police and the state house anti-corruption unit headed by Lt col Edith Nakalema.

The Government has also halted the distribution of animal vaccines, especially for FMD, pending the conclusion of the investigations and test results from the vaccine samples that were transported to the United Kingdom for testing at the World Governing Body for Biologicals.

The Meat Producers’ Association chairperson, Robert Ssenozi, said stakeholders in the beef production are now trying to regulate extension services for their members to ensure proper use of vaccines and farm best practices to control disease outbreaks in the future.

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