HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Nepalis have not been eating meat according to the prescribed consumption amount. Meat consumption is low as compared to the global average.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture Development, a Nepali eats 10.3 kg meat in a year while the global average is 37.9 kg. Adequate dietary need of meat is about 35.9 kg, according to the United States’ Nutrition Department. The department’s data shows South Asia in the bottom of the global meat consumption ladder.
Among South Asian countries, Nepal ranked third in meat consumption at 10.3 kg per person per year, followed by Maldives at 8.5 kg, Sri Lanka at 4.8 kg, India at 4.6 kg and Bangladesh at 3.2 kg.
Meat consumption by Nepalis is not enough for a balanced development, said senior food officer at the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control Pramod Koirala. “It should be increased to the global average level,” he said, adding that it will provide adequate nutrition intake to people.
However, he warned that excessive consumption of meat could be harmful to people indicating the meat consumption pattern during Dashain. Meat consumption during Dashain — Saptami to Dashami — increases by seven times with a daily average intake of 28 gram to 212 gram. “Our physiology cannot support high intake, so people must be aware of it,” he suggested. United States’ Nutrition Department has also pointed out that daily consumption of 100-150 gram red meat and 250 gram white meat is the best diet. “Excessive consumption of meat can lead to health hazards, putting pressure on digestive organs in burning carbohydrates,” the department’s report said.
People living in towns must be aware while eating meat, as the average meat consumption in towns is 21 kg — two times more than the national average. People living in Kathmandu consume 28.3 kg meat. Meat consumption dramatically increases in Kathmandu in Dashain, therefore there will be chances of low standard meat being sold.
The meat consumption pattern of Nepalis is decided by economic conditions. Low income has been the major obstacle for consumption of adequate meat.
“Consumers must buy meat prepared in front of them whenever possible,” Koirala suggested, “One must inspect the freshness of the meat because the country does not have a slaughter house and strong inspection mechanism.” Butchers even sell meat of sick animals or do not maintain hygienic conditions when butchering.
The country largely depends on buffalo meat that constitutes 60.55 per cent of total meat production which amounts to 276,665 metric tonnes. Mutton is the second preferred meat with consumption of 52,262 metric tonnes followed by pork (17,860 metric tonnes), sheep (2713 metric tonnes) and duck (224 metric tonnes).
About 12,000 metric tonnes meat worth Rs 6.46 billion is imported from India and third countries. However, there is no official record of which meat item is imported from India and abroad.
The country is self-reliant in chicken with gross production of chicken at 36,052 metric tonnes.