Foot and mouth disease, fuel push up beef price in Uganda

Thursday December 13 2018

uganda cows

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. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By HALIMA ABDALLAH
More by this Author

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.