17 December 2012

Uganda: Kampala Beef Prices Down

Kampala — The price of beef (meat) has greatly reduced in Kampala inspite of the fact that we are just a few days away from the charismas festivities, survey by East African Business Week reveals.

According to a survey carried out by East African Business Week, in most parts of the city, the price for beef has gone down from Ush10,000 ($4) Ush 6,000-7,500 ($3) per kilogram at most outlets.

According Peter Ssempala a butchery attendant in Katwe, a Kampala surburb, the slashing of the meat prices is due to the low liquidity (money in circulation) in the country.

"Most of our customers are increasingly exhibiting low purchasing powers and are reluctant to buy meat at $4," he noted.

He added that meat sales have been poor since October this year.

Ssempala stressed that the business has become competitive as younger graduates from universities who have failed to get jobs in the formal sectorhave have started butchers since they are easy to manage.

Other meat sellers have attributed the decision to lower the price on the negative perception Ugandans have toward red meat.

John Mukasa also a butcher in Nakawa told East African Business Week that many of his daily clients now prefer vegetables and fish which are packed with protein but don't have the same risks asociated to red or processed meat.

He said that claims doing the rounds are that over indulgence in red meats is dangerous to one's life because it leads to obesity. A number of medical sources are quoted as saying that meat-eating societies tend to have higher levels of cholesterol in their blood, and higher rates of coronary heart disease, than in societies where people depend more heavily on plant foods.

However, some beef dealers say some butchers may have lowered the beef price because they get lower prices by conniving with cattle thieves, who steal cows and can offer a better price than that at the more established abbatoirs.

"As to the lowering of the prices of meat, some of us will not put it down to a reduction of money in circulation but to the fact that some of our competitors are being supplied with cows that have been stolen from the livestock farmers in western Uganda. eEven though such a person sells beef at Ush 6,000 a kilo, he will not make any loss," explained Shaban Kalinda of Kalinda Beef Center in Makindye a Kampala suburb.

He said his butchery will maintain the old price of Ush 8000 per kilogram of meat

He projected that the price of beef is likely to reach as high as between Ush 10,000 - 13,000, pulled by the excessive demand that is usually present during the Christmas festivities.

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