The price of meat has gone up following a shortage of local cattle breeds that are normally preferred by consumers.
According to Samuel Muhire, a cattle trader at Nyabugogo Abattoir, a 200kg bull that used to sell at Rwf 150,000 now costs between Rwf 270,000 and Rwf 320,000.
“The scarcity of local cattle breeds in the country has made the few available ones very expensive,” Muhire said.
Jerome Nambajimana, who runs the Nyamirambo-based Smart Butchery said: “We used to sell a kilo of beef at about Rwf 1,500 but now it’s at roughly Rwf 2,000,” he said, adding that the price increase has seen the number of clients plummet.
“I used to make a profit of at least Rwf15,000 a day but this has dropped to Rwf 10, 000 on a good day. Fewer people buy meat these days.”
The traders say the decrease in the local cattle breeds is a result of farmers opting for hybrid cattle and middle men who prefer to sell cattle in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
While the hybrid cattle are popular due to their massive milk production, Muhire says they are not good for beef.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Dr Christine Kanyandekwe, the Deputy Director General of Animal Resources Extension at Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), said that people have opted for the hybrids because they have more benefits compared to the local cattle breeds.
Dr Kanyandekwe added that the Ministry of Agriculture has set up a gene bank and those who want to rear the local cattle breeds can obtain genes for artificial insemination.
The official further encouraged the public to consume other types of meat including chicken, pork, and mutton.
“The Ministry is carrying out sensitisation campaigns across the country to change people’s mindset in view that there are other sources of meat besides cattle,” Dr Kanyandekwe said, adding that plans are underway to import hybrid he-goats and rabbits to increase production, which will subsequently increase meat production.