THE price of goats at Lusaka’s Chibolya market has increased by over K100 because of a significant shortage of pig products.
And Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Bob Sichinga says over 9,700 pigs infected by African swine fever have so far been slaughtered to curb the spread of the disease.
A ban on the movement of pigs following an outbreak of African swine fever has compelled many residents to turn to goat meat, which is coming to a steep price.
From a previous cost of K120, goats are now being sold at K250.
A survey conducted by the Daily Mail in Lusaka revealed that goats are now being sold for between K200 and K250.
Mary Zimba, a goat trader of Lusaka, attributed the increase in goat prices to the high demand caused by the ban on the movement of pigs and processing of pig products in Lusaka.
“The increase in the price of goat is due to high demand. You see, since Government banned the movement of pigs and processing pig products in Lusaka, farmers who supply the animals have taken advantage to hike the price.
“With the festive season, the demand will even be higher due to the shortage of pork products in Lusaka,” she said.
Ms Zimba said most farmers have also taken advantage of the festive season.
She also said the increase in the price of goats has made it difficult for most traders with low capital to continue with their business.
“Previously, we used to buy a goat between K100 and K120, but now we are buying it between K200 and K250. This will result in us increasing the price of goat meat,” she said.
Another trader at City market, Boyd Chanda, said there is a significant increase in customers buying goats.
“I usually order my goats from farmers in Mumbwa at a cost of about K100. When I buy, I resell the meat by adding a small mark-up to get a profit,” he said.
The mark-up is no longer small.
He predicted that by next month if the ban is not lifted, the price of goat meat is expected to rise further.
Last month, an outbreak of African swine fever hit Lusaka, killing about 1,682 pigs prompting Government to ban the movement and processing of pigs and pig products in Lusaka to save the pig industry.
This is the third time the African swine fever has been recorded in Zambia with the last outbreak recorded in 2004.
The first outbreak was reported in 1994. African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease that could kill 95 to 100 percent of affected pigs.
And Mr Sichinga said veterinary officers have managed to depopulate the pigs infected with the disease at some farms in Lusaka.
The minister was speaking on Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC)’s special national watch programme on Tuesday evening.
“The number is now standing at just under 10,000 animals; 9,717 is the number of animals that have been slaughtered. The compensation will be given to farmers whose pigs were slaughtered by our officers,” he said.
Mr Sichinga said initially, there was resistance from some farmers not to have their infected animals slaughtered.
He said the farmers are now willing because Government has committed to compensating the affected farmers.
Mr Sichinga said veterinary officers carried out tests on pigs in 181 farms throughout Lusaka and discovered that 20 of them had infected animals.
“All the farms that are around the epicentre, we had to depopulate. Surely, it has created the shortage of pork products, but it is not the government has caused it. It is the carelessness of one or two farmers that has affected others,” he said.
Mr Sichinga said Government will disinfect all the farms where pigs with the fever have been depopulated to ensure there is no outbreak of the disease.
And Mr Sichinga said the rise in the price of maize is good for the farmers because they will be encouraged to produce more this farming season.
“When the price of the commodity goes up, it is good for the farmers…it encourages them to produce more,” he said.
Mr Sichinga said when the price of maize goes up, it is an assurance to farmers that the returns will be good.
He said the increase in mealie meal prices was caused by private grain traders who were competing to purchase maize from farmers.
“Grain traders were buying either for themselves or on behalf of the millers. So, they were competing for about 850,000 metric tonnes of maize which was available” he said.