As meat prices remain high MoAF plans an ice factory

When the pandemic began import of meat was banned in the country except for frozen and packaged meats. As a result, prices skyrocketed in the capital since availability of meat was in short supply.

The price of beef being sold in the capital’s market is in the range between Nu 350 and Nu 400 for meat with bone and boneless varieties and pork are around Nu 400 for a kilo. Dried beef cost around Nu 1,500 a Kilo and for Sikam is Nu 600 per kilo.

A meat vendor in Babesa said that the price remains high since there is no import and the locally produced products are not available as much.

“We do not have any option rather than selling at the given prices since the prices has not decreased from the source,” he said.

 Another meat vendor near CFM said, “The prices will remain high unless the meat ban lifts in the country.”

An official from Office of Consumer Protection said that the price of meat has increased as per the study carried out in twenty dzongkhags.

“One of the main reasons is the disruption in the supply chain,” he said.

He said that the study was carried out mainly to see the existing practice of price fixation of meat.

“We collected information regarding price prior to COVID and after COVID from all the dzongkhags and there is an increase in price. One reason is because locally produced meat are not available in the market. The relevant agencies might have to fix the issue soon,” he said, adding that they are having discussion with the relevant agency regarding the survey.

He said they did not receive any official complaints regarding the hiking of meat price till date.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests on March 2020 issued an official notice banning import of meat.

Meanwhile, the Chief for Livestock Department Towchu Rabgay, said during the lockdown 13,000 kg of chicken had to be disposed since it was spoiled because there were no resources for storing the meat. He said that the department has planned to set up an ice plant in the country at a strategic location where the meat can be stored before transporting. 

“For meat processing we need value chain, transportation and marketing. In processing manpower is involved and during the lockdown there was a shortage of manpower and if we store the meat for two days it gets spoiled,” he said.

He said transportation and marketing, involves cold chain and they need blast freezer and ice pack but there is no ice factory in the country and so ice has to be imported. He said there was no ice and the meat got spoiled, so that is why they are planning to set up an ice plant in the country.

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