Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Goat shortage felt

Goat supply shortage has led to dramatic price hikes Capital learnt.
An illegal goat market along the border regions is one major reason given for reduced goat supply in the city, although the Ethiopian Meat Exporters Association says there are more reasons than that. Members of the association who have been exporting the product to the Middle East and other countries said that the price of goat has risen greatly over the past few months.
“Goat meat price has risen from 300 birr for 20Kg to 600 birr,” exporters told Capital.
According to exporters, the problem is not only the price hike but a supply shortage.
“Over the past few months we have not received sufficient supply compared with our capacity for slaughter and the demand of the market,” they added.
Tesfalidet Hagos, head of Luna Meat Export, which is one of Ethiopia’s biggest goat meat exporters, told Capital that the price hike and shortage is making life difficult for them.
Suppliers said that the insufficient supply from the potential market area and farmers are the major reason they are unable to meet consumers’ demands.  “Middlemen,” are also being blamed for the price increase as well.  “We have not been getting enough goats lately because they have been sold around the Somali and Djibouti border areas at a higher price than we are able to offer,” suppliers said.
According to goat meat suppliers, many are coming into the business because the prices have gone up but the supply has not been sufficient for the needs of the market. Most goats are slaughtered hundreds of kilometers from Addis Ababa. Tamrat Ejigu, secretary general of the association, told Capital that lack of a modern market system is contributing to the problem even if the animal is available amply. “The livestock market regime throughout the country including the capital city does not have a normal flow as the sector is highly affected,” Tamrat added. “While the illegal export is the major problem,” the secretary general accepted the meat exporters’ implication.
He said that the growing demand on abattoirs and the inflation observed in the local market are another reasons for the rising price of goat.
The exporter said that the farmers are not delivering their animals to the market like they promised. “The current rules are not encouraging the suppliers to deliver animals for abattoirs. For instance different redundant charges like customs fees and duty when suppliers transport animals from regional markets to the slaughters are increasing the cost for suppliers,” the exporter told Capital.    
Tesfalidet said that lack of modern animal breading activity and animal feed production scarcity needs attention from the government and the private sector involved in the trade, to increase the goat supply.
According to the association official, lack of infrastructure and transportation inside the country are the major reasons that encourage the border trade because most of the initial markets are far from the central part of the country, while the border areas are relatively near.
According to the exporters, both the export and local price of goat have increased and exporters are complaining. 
“The current export price is not making us profit so we are negotiating with our clients to set a new price,” exporters said. But like previous trends Ethiopian exporters are not able to set minimum prices because they do not have that much influence over the markets abroad.   
Currently, about six slaughter houses are exporting goat meat, while local and foreign based companies are expressing interest in taking advantage of the country’s livestock market. Other countries are exploring importing meat from Ethiopia. Ethiopia has one of the largest livestock populations on the African continent. However there has been little growth in the sector recently.
The export of goat and sheep meat has dominated the Ethiopian meat export; however the cattle meat market demand is higher in the export market. Currently local and foreign based firm are establishing abattoirs in the country to expand the cattle meat export which has the potential to be more lucrative than sheep and goat exports.