Spurt in goat meat prices turns killjoy on Xmas eve

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on December 25, 2019

The decline in the supply of live goat in major animal markets has led to the price rally in Maharashtra   -  ShikharBhattarai

Rapid urbanisation, destruction of grazing lands are main reasons

Food inflation has also affected Christmas celebrations in Maharashtra with mutton (goat meat) prices rising by about ₹150/kg in the last 30 days, with prices hovering at about ₹600/kg in Mumbai.

Even broiler chicken prices have shot by ₹10 to reach ₹200/kg. Usually, prices increase with demand around Christmas and New Year, but the price of mutton has risen abnormally in a short span. The decline in the supply of live goat in major animal markets has led to the price rally.

In the agriculturally and industrially prosperous city of Kolhapur, locals protested against the sudden spurt in prices and sought the intervention of the District Collector in the matter. Kolhapur in Western Maharashtra has traditionally been a mutton-consuming area due to the wrestling culture among the locals.

Kolhapur-based industrialist, Nitin Menon, who runs a large farm of about 1,000 goats under the brand ‘Mani Agriculture & Research’, said that mutton prices will soon reach prices of tiger prawns or even Kobe beef because the supply is shrinking while demand is rising.

In Maharashtra, the Dhangar (shepherds) community has been traditionally rearing goats, but due to destruction of grazing lands, there has been rising conflicts between farmers and the Dhangars. Rapid urbanisation and hardship of grazing is also leading to many Dhangar families wanting to opt for other jobs, Menon said.

Menon, who is also the Vice-Chairman of Menon Bearings Ltd said: “Recently, I met a prosperous Dhangar wearing a gold bracelet, which could have been half an inch thick, but still he was looking out for an office assistant job for his son in my factory,” he said.

Menon pointed out that unlike poultry business, there is no full-fledged support from the State or Central government. Since the US and European markets are more oriented towards sheep rearing, technology import or transfer for rearing is minimal. Additionally, there has also been no technological intervention from the Indian scientist, he said.

Chicken feed prices rise

An executive with a large frozen food company said that an increase in broiler chicken prices is due to higher chicken feed rate. A boiler chick is a voracious eater, which has to be fed regularly for weight gain. About 600 g of chicken feed get converted into 1 kg of chicken meat. Increase in feed prices has also affected consumers’ prices.

Published on December 25, 2019

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