Import of live goat declines, price skyrockets

Kathmandu, July 12

The domestic market has been facing a shortage of goat meat for the last few months.

After the government tightened the import of live goats since February, the shortage of goat meat in the market has been gradually rising. Aiming to supply healthy goat meat in the market, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development had tightened the quarantine check to ensure that only healthy goats are being imported in the country.

As per local traders, the import of live goats has declined after the government imposed stricter rules of quarantine check on imported livestock. “From mid-February, import of goat meat has gone down to a large extent. Hence, there is a shortage of goat meat and local traders have hiked the price,” said Jeevan Khatiwada, a goat importer of Kalanki Khasi Bazar.

According to Khatiwada, before the government implemented this rule, they used to import 600 to 700 kilograms of goat per day, which has declined to 200 to 250 kilograms at the moment. The government has banned the import of unhealthy and ‘stressed’ goats from India. Similarly, exporters who do not have required documents of supplying healthy goats are also not being accepted at the Nepali quarantine.

According to the Department of Customs, a total of 315,906 live goats were imported in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year. Meanwhile, a total of 392,758 live goats had been imported during the same period of last fiscal.

The government’s decision is indeed good in terms of healthy goats being supplied, however, the lower imports and less number of local goats is making it hard to meet the demands of the market. Moreover, this may have an impact during the Dashain festival, Khatiwada said.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the per capita consumption of goat meat annually stands at 11 kg in Nepal. Hence, the illegal import of goat meat has increased in the last two months.

“As Indian exporters are unable to export unhealthy goats through legal channels, such goats are increasingly being smuggled in through the porous border,” Khatiwada claimed, “Every week around 400 to 500 goats are being imported illegally.”

As the supply of goats has decreased, the price of goat meat has skyrocketed in the market. Earlier, goat meat used to cost Rs 900 to Rs 1,000 per kilogram, which has now gone up to Rs 1,200 per kilogram.

Since the market is facing a shortage of goats at the moment, this situation could encourage farmers in goat farming.

Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Chakrapani Khanal, said that tightening the quarantine check on goat meat has given a good result in the market. Speaking during the inspection of central pesticide testing laboratory here today, Minister Khanal has said that consumers are consuming healthy goat meat at the moment.

“This initiative has regulated the Indian exporters too. They are now exporting healthy goats,” he said, “We are having frequent discussions with India on this matter. Surely, this is going to benefit Nepali consumers.”