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April 16, 2021

Export termed main cause behind shortage, increase in meat prices


April 16, 2021

PESHAWAR: The export of livestock to Afghanistan and Middle Eastern countries was stated to be the main cause of shortage and increasing prices of meat in the country.

During a visit to the market, the customers and butchers said that there was a severe shortage of livestock due to which the prices had increased and they had no other option but to sell meat at a higher rate. The district administration has fixed the price of meat at Rs400 per kg.

A butcher said he had purchased two animals at Rs200,000 and Rs195,000 each and it cost him Rs500 per kg. “It is almost impossible for me to sell it at the fixed rate of Rs400,” he added.

A customer, who had recently returned from Kabul, said that the price of meat in Afghanistan was Rs900 per kg. He pointed out that the price in Kabul was almost double than that of the one in Peshawar.

Keeping in view the demand from Afghanistan, he said the traders export livestock there to earn more money.

The butcher admitted that the price of meat had increased manifold. “We don’t want to breach trust of our customers and purchase healthy animals at high prices. We can’t afford to sell the meat at the rate fixed by the government,” he argued.

He added that he had to close his shop for two days as they were not in a position to sell the quality meat at the fixed rate.

He said that the butchers had apprised the government officials regarding their problems. “We do not earn extra profit in the holy month of Ramazan. Rather, we ensure provision of quality meat to customers,” he added.

Without naming some officials and a judge, he said their guards buy meat from him because he never compromised on his credibility and reputation and provided fresh meat even though he charged more than the other meat sellers.

The customers deplored that some butchers fill water in the meat to make it heavier and earn more but no action was being taken against them.

They maintained that the silence of corrupt government officials over the ongoing illegal activities encouraged the butchers to charge more. “They cannot do so without the tacit support of the local officials,” one of the customers alleged.

This correspondent counted at least 30 people anxiously waiting at one shop to get meat at 11.30am at the shop. The shop owner said he had already sold one animal and this was his second one.

He did not agree with the notion that the demand for meat had increased in Ramazan, saying he and his brothers usually slaughter eight to 10 buffaloes or cows in a day to meet the requirements of different shops in various parts of the city and adjacent villages.

Pointing to the rush of customers, he said, he had not opened his shop for two days and his customers did not buy meat from other shops.

Both the customers and shopkeepers were unanimous in their suggestion to the government to find an acceptable solution to end the increasing price-hike and bitterness among the people.

The customers belonging to different age groups said it was difficult for them to meet their requirements in their limited resources and salaries.

The elders waiting for their turn to get meat in the shop deplored that the district administration had fixed the price of meat but most of the butchers ignored the government’s directives.