POKHARA, Sept 26: For many, Dashain is a festival about good food. And for meat lovers, obviously, meat is a major foodstuff. The consumption of meat is almost doubled at the time of Dashain.
Mountain goat meat is considered a good feast for Dashain. Mountain goats grow up by eating Himalayan herbs, so consumers consider their meat to be better than chicken or normal goat. Most of the mountain goats sold in Kathmandu and other major cities come from Mustang, and they are sold like hotcakes.
Nepal Food Corporation is a government body buying mountain goats from farmers of Mustang and selling in Kathmandu. This coming Monday, the first lot of mountain goats will arrive Kathmandu.
According to local traders, during the time of Dashain, around 30,000 mountain goats are sold in Pokhara alone. Traders are currently in Mustang to buy mountain goats for Pokhara. Some traders have already started to sell mountain goats in Pokhara. According to Ganga Bahadur Bhandari, chairperson of Live Livestock Traders Association, large number of mountain goats will be sold in Pokhara this year.
“Every year, the demand of mountain goat is increasing, and to meet the demand, mountain goats are brought from Mustang. In our first trip, we bought 250 mountain goats in Pokhara,” Bhandari said. “We have made plans to sell 500 mountain goats this year. Last year also we sold 500 mountain goats.”
“Consumers of Pokhara won’t consume chicken and goat if mountain goats are available. Mountain goats are grown up in the mountainous environment, and they are fed all the medicinal mountain herbs. So everyone prefers it,” he added. “Even people living around Kaski district prefer eating mountain goat.”
People from Syangja, Tanahun, Chitwan, and Butwal arrive in Pokhara to buy mountain goat, according to him.
According to Bhandari, people of Pokhara buy mountain goat even for higher price as the taste of mountain goat is regarded to be special. In Pokhara people can buy meat of mountain goat from Shrawan to Mangsir months according to Nepali calendar. It is easily available during the time of Dashain-Tihar, but beside the peak time it is not easy to find.
Bholanath Ojha, immediate past chairperson of Meat Traders Association, said that around 8,000 kilos of goat meat and 35,000 kilos of chicken meat are sold on a normal day in Pokhara. But during the time of Dashain, consumption of goat meat increases to 35,000 kilos and that of chicken goes down to 25,000 kilos, he added.
“The demand of mountain goat goes up accordingly, but the data is not available,” he said.
The tourist season is starting in Pokhara, and domestic tourists enter Pokhara in great numbers, which also increases the consumption of meat. Domestic tourists like the taste of mountain goat, according to entrepreneurs.
“Besides Pokhara, the meat of mountain goat is not easily available elsewhere in this region. People who come to visit Pokhara want to taste mountain goat meat. Hotels and restaurants also prefer to serve mountain goat meat as much as possible and available,” Ojha added.
The corporation has planned to sell 2,000 mountain goats in Kathmandu this Dashain. Last year, it had sold 1,000 goats. The corporation is investing Rs 30.5 million in sending mountain goats to Kathmandu. All the mountain goats are brought from different villages of Mustang. Five hundred mountain goats will be sent to the capital in four lots. The first lot will reach Kathmandu on Monday.
Last year, the corporation had sold live mountain goats for Rs 530 per kilogram. But this year, it will be increased to Rs 560. It will sell mountain goats weighing 25 to 40 kilograms.
Traders have been selling mountain goats for arbitrary prices during the time of Dashain, and to control it, the corporation had started to sell mountain goats. The department of livestock examines mountain goats before sending them to Pokhara. Farmers of Muktichhetra, Dalome, and Lo Manthang areas of Mustant breed mountain goats.