The Competition and Tariffs Commission has instructed indigenous butchers to submit proof that 30 percent of local butchers have closed down as a result of unfair competition from abattoirs.The indigenous butchers are accusing private abattoirs of pushing them out of business by acting as both wholesalers and retailers.
CTC chairman Mr Dumisani Sibanda told a public hearing on the matter that the indigenous butchers should submit the proof within two weeks.
The hearing follows an investigation that was carried out by the Commission in 2012 after receiving complaints from butchers over the matter.
Mr Raymond Nembo of Sawyer and Mkushi who was representing the indigenous butchers told the hearing that 240 out of 800 indigenous butchers in the country had closed due to stiff competition.
He also indicated that most butcheries were closing as private abattoirs Montana Meats, Koala and Surrey abattoirs were selling their meat at very low prices.
"The pricing regime being used by abattoirs is tantamount to predatory pricing," he said. "Private abattoirs sell beef at US$3,15 per kilogramme yet the standard local price is US$4,50 per kilogramme and beef sausages sell for US$3,10 per kilogramme and the local standard price is US$4,50 per kilogramme.
"The local market cannot compete with such prices and that is also affecting the local producers, our farmers," he said.
He also accused abattoirs of selling both wholesale and retail beef at the same price.
The private abattoirs however denied the allegations saying that there is a 20 percent difference between the retail and wholesale prices.
Mr Sibanda directed the private abattoirs to supply the commission with records of sales that they made in 2013 in order to determine whether they were operating within their mandate.
"Abattoirs should submit the market split ratio of the meat they sold in 2013 outlining supply to butcheries as well as supply to other retailers," he said.