Meat gets costlier with rising demand, falling supply

Kathmandu, May 20

Meat prices have gone up in the last couple of weeks as its production and supply has dropped due to the lockdown, while the demand has increased.

For instance, chicken price has surged to Rs 310 per kg compared to Rs 250 per kg just a week ago. Egg price has also spiralled up to Rs 350 per crate from Rs 280 per crate last week.

The Nepal Hatchery Industries Association foresees chicken price reaching as high as Rs 500 per kg in the next one month.

“Chick hatching has completely stopped, drastically bringing down the production. Demand, however, is high,” Tika Ram Pokhrel, president of the association, told THT, adding prices of chicken and eggs are sure to go up in the near future.

Just before the lockdown, hatchery industries had destroyed chicks demanding a hike in chicken price. Production had already dropped back then. Now due to the lockdown, industries are not hatching chicks, he said. Moreover, in the name of recovering losses, traders are raising prices, according to Pokhrel.

The price of buffalo meat has also gone up to Rs 500 per kg from Rs 400 per kg, while price of goat meat has soared to Rs 1,400 per kg against Rs 1,100 per kg before the lockdown.

“Supply of live goat has been disrupted and a few suppliers have created a syndicate and are charging arbitrarily,” said a goat supplier of Kalanki Khasi Bazar on condition of anonymity.

“They (suppliers) have been selling live goat for Rs 700 to Rs 730 per kg, while the normal price of live goat is around Rs 580 to Rs 630 per kg,” he said, adding, “Based on the price of live goats, traders set their own price and consumers get affected.”

The government should monitor live goat suppliers instead of traders, he added.

Meanwhile, Prem Lal Maharjan, president of Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights, said sellers were taking advantage of the lockdown period to raise prices of meat products. “Shops are allowed to open only for a limited period in the mornings and evenings, which is why the demand has increased and traders are capitalising on this adverse situation,” he alleged. “The government is failing to monitor this malpractice.”

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 21, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.