Kabale, Uganda | URN | Beef prices have soared in Kabale and Rubanda district following the quarantine on pigs and their products due to the confirmed outbreak of the African swine fever.
Veterinary authorities in the two districts announced the quarantine last week effectively banning the sale of pork in the district.
Shortly after the announcement of the quarantine, Veterinary authorities invaded various pork joints in Kabale municipality where they impounded and set ablaze over 100 kilograms of pork.
This has forced pork joint operators to resort to roasting goat meat and beef so as to survive in business.
As a result, the price of beef in Kabale municipality has increased from Shillings 10,000 to Shillings 12,000. A kilogram of goat meat now costs between Shillings 14,000 and 15,000 from Shillings 12,000.
Samuel Kyomukama alias Uncle Sam No.7, a butcher in Kabale Police barracks playground market in Kabale town, says when the pork quarantine was announced, all pork dealers resorted to roasting goat meat and beef.
He says this has triggered a rise in the prices of goat meat and beef due to increased demand as compared to supply.
Willison Mutabaazi, a butcher from Bubaare trading Centre in Bubaare Sub County in Rubanda district, says the increase in goat meat prices has fueled goat theft.
Hamad Mugumya, another butcher in Kabale town, says the supply of goats started decreasing gradually in 2017 following the outbreak of the Ovine Rinderpest disease in greater in Kabale, Rubanda and Kisoro districts, which claimed several goats.
Anthony Muhangi, the chairperson Kabale Municipal Butcher’s Association, says the number of goats and cows slaughtered increased from 20 to 30 and 8 to 14 each day following the pork quarantine.
Leodinas Birungi Kamurasi, the Proprietor of Dot.Com Guest House in Kitumba sub county, Kabale district one of the affected pork dealers, says despite being displeased by the pork quarantine there is nothing much they can do.
Kamurasi accuses veterinary officials for failure to detect the disease in time to control its spread, which has affected their operations.
Kamurasi also accuses veterinary officers at the sub county and division levels for only focusing on extorting from them Shillings 2000 per carcass during inspection instead of playing their role to detect diseases.
But Bernard Kabagambe, the Kabale District Veterinary Officer, says the quarantine will remain in force until they prove beyond reasonable doubt that African swine fever is under control.
African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease characterized by fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and exhaustion in pigs. Infected pigs must be slaughtered and their carcasses buried or incinerated.