The recent price increase of beef is seasonal and is expected to persist until the end of the festive season, beef and poultry association of Zimbabwe president Solomon Zawe said yesterday.
He said farmers were holding on to their livestock to concentrate on the farming season.
The situation is expected to normalise in January next year when farmers are in need of cash.
The price of beef recently went up from an average of between $3,60 per kg and $5,50per kg to as high as $12 per kg for fillet.
“Lots of stock comes from small-scale farmers, but at this time of the reason farmers have no reason to dispose of stock as they need their cows to prepare for the farming season,” said Zawe.
However, sources told NewsDay farmers were deliberately holding onto their livestock in protest over the Zimbabwe-Botswana beef deal that pushed prices down to as low as $2,50/kg.
The deal resulted in Cold Storage Company — whose fortunes had slumped in recent years — being revived at its Bulawayo abattoirs with at least 1 000 beasts slaughtered daily.
In July this year, the government signed a memorandum of understanding with Botswana allowing for the importation of cattle for immediate slaughter to curtail the risk of foot-and-mouth disease spreading, as Botswana had high incidence of the disease particularly in areas along the border with Zimbabwe.
Commenting on the Zimbabwe-Botswana deal, Zawe said there was need for consultative meetings to have been held before the country ratified the deal.
“We needed to be consulted. The Botswana deal affected the supply of meat as local sales went down as a result of cheap imports,” said Zawe.
He said the increase in prices of beef will by no means result in the increase in price of alternative type of meats such as chicken.
“Some time ago there were chicken shortages in the country, but beef prices didn’t go up. There is no reason for chicken prices to go up,” added Zawe.