KATHMANDU, Sept 10: Goat meat is likely to be traded at Rs 1,500 per kilogram during Dashain holidays if the government does not initiate to ease supply, say goat traders.
The price of goat rose after the government made health examination certificates of livestock mandatory for import in July. The import of goats from India has stopped after the traders failed to present the document in the quarantine office.
“The enforcement comes along with insufficient homework needed to address the concern properly,” said Deepak Thapa, past president of Nepal Livestock Traders Association. “The government has not done anything to ease the price hike, which has resulted in illegal import of goats from India.”
According to Thapa, Indian goats are being traded labeling them as Nepali product. As the import has been halted, consumers have to believe them.
“We have also let the Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection know about the irregularities in the market. However very little has been done to solve the problem,” he added.
Retailers are selling goat meat for as much as Rs 1,300 at the moment. Currently, live goat is being traded for Rs 630 to Rs 650 in the Nepali market. It was traded for Rs 500 per kilogram during this time last year.
“If the illegally imported goats were not available in the market, the price would reach as much as Rs 800 per kilogram for live goat,” said Thapa.
Traders used to import 4,000 goats a week during normal times. After the government has asked the traders to produce health examination certificates of the livestock, at least 200 goats are being transported illegally on daily basis. The demand of the goat during Dashain festivals in the Kathmandu Valley stands at 50,000 live goats.
“I have heard that 25,000 goats will be supplied to Kathmandu for Dashain from different parts of the country,” Thapa said. Traders fear that after supplying all goats available, there is a possibility of goat meat scarcity after Dashain.
However, the government is firm on the decision made regarding mandatory quarantine provision. Yogendra Gauchan, director general at the Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection said: “A rule once made by the government cannot be changed, and traders need to comply by it.” He said that the traders should proactively reach out to the domestic suppliers. “They still want others to deliver the goats for them. It is not like getting it imported from India to Kathmandu,” he added.
According to Thapa, the Indian party that supplies goats says the Indian government does not have any provision to provide such documents. “The government should put forward its plan on how to resolve the problem,” he told Republica, adding, “It can create a checkpoint where the tests can be run and from there healthy goats can be distributed to different parts of the country. We are ready to settle the problem through appropriate solution, but the government seems reluctant.”
Though the country has become self-reliant on chicken meat, it still needs to import goats to meet the demand.