Meat consumers in Mbale have been hit by shortages following an enforcement of quarantine in the district and 24 others following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in June. Most butchers in Mbale town have closed business while the few that are operating say they are importing their supplies from as far as western Kenya.
Most butchers in Mbale town have closed business while the few that are operating say they are importing their supplies from as far as western Kenya.
Nathan Wanda, a butcher man operating from Mbale Main Market, says he is importing his supply from Kitale in Western Kenya. Meanwhile, Robert Soiti, another butcher man from the same market says he brings his supply from Jinja but he says it is not consistent.
A kilogram of beef now goes for 11,000 shillings up from 8000 shillings, while the price of goat’s meat has jumped from 9000 to 13, 000 shillings a kilogram.
Restaurant and hotel owners are also feeling the impact of the quarantine as most of them have since stopped serving meat because of the shortages and hike in prices. In a few of the hotels and restaurants that are able to prepare meat, their prices have also shot up.
URN found out that at Wash and Will Hotel, Mt Elgon and Mbale Resort Hotel which are classified as first class hotels in Mbale, the cost of a plate of meat has increased from 15, 000 and 25, 000 shillings to between 25, 000 and 35, 000 shillings.
Meanwhile in other restaurants in town a plate of meat has also increased from between 4000 and 6000 shillings to between 8000 and 10, 000 shillings.
The development has also had an adverse effect on prices of Pork, Chicken, Turkey and fish.
At Mbale Main market a price of dry fish has shot up from between 6, 000 and 25, 000 shillings to between 10, 000 and 40, 000 shillings. A kilo of pork is up from 8000 to 12, 000 shillings, while chicken is between 30, 000 and 50, 000 shillings up from 15, 000 shillings. A turkey is now selling at between 60, 000 and 130, 000 shillings from between 25, 000 and 80, 000 shillings.
Dr. George Were, the Mbale District Veterinary Officer, attributes this to the quarantine that restricts movement of cattle and goats from 25 districts in Eastern, North eastern and Northern parts of the country.
He says the affected districts include, Kotido, Nakapiripirit, Abim, Kween, Bugiri, Napak, Moyo, Mbale, Alebtong, Ngora and Nwoya. Others are Amudat, Kaabong, Moroto, Sironko, Soroti, Kumi, Kapchorwa, Kaberamaido, Pallisa, Pader, Serere, Lamwo, and Bukedea.
Reports of the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak first surfaced in early June in Gweri sub county, Soroti district, before being reported in Ngora, Bukedea and Mbale. Officials in the four districts banned the movement of animals and reported the ban to the Agriculture ministry, but the disease has since continued spreading.
Chris Rutebarika, the Commissioner for Livestock Health and Entomology in the Ministry of Agriculture, says the spread of the disease was hastened by a restocking programme under the Office of the Prime Minister, through which some infected animals were distributed. He observes that locals in the affected districts had defied the ban on movement of animals, making it difficult for the ministry to contain the disease.
Foot and mouth is an infectious viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs and goats. Although it may not kill mature animals, it is said to greatly affect their productivity. The disease affects the mouth of the animal, thereby making feeding difficult and leading to retarded growth.