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Zimbabwe Beef Prices Soar as Imports End and National Herd Dwindles

  • Gibbs Dube
  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Residents of Harare, Bulawayo, Gwanda, Victoria Falls and other cities and towns said beef prices range from US$7 a kilogram for cheaper cuts to US$12 a kilo for fillet in most shops

The price of beef has more than doubled in most Zimbabwean cities due to a scarcity of livestock and the end of a program importing thousands of head from Botswana.

Residents of Harare, Bulawayo, Gwanda, Victoria Falls and other cities and towns said beef prices range from US$7 a kilogram for cheaper cuts to US$12 a kilo for fillet in most shops. Not long ago beef prices ranged from US$4 to US$6 a kilo, sources said.

Many less-affluent Zimbabweans have resorted to green vegetables as pork and chicken prices have also surged as consumers shifted their preferences.

Bulawayo single mother Linda Mpofu said life has become unbearable for most families due to the spike in beef and other meat prices. Victoria Falls resident Siphambaniso Moyo said even chicken and pork are out of reach. “The majority of residents will now have only one meal a day due to the high meat prices,” said Moyo.

Gwanda cattle producer Patrick Dube said many farmers are slaughtering their breeding stock. He said the government should intervene to rebuild the national herd.

Legislator Moses Jiri, chairman of Parliament's agriculture committee, said the headlong land reform program launched in 2000 is to blame for dwindling herds.

Zimbabwe halted beef exports to the European Union in 2001 due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. It had a beef export quota to the EU of 9,100 tonnes a year under the so-called Beef and Veal Protocol of the Lome IV Convention. Zimbabwe used used to export beef to Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Malaysia.

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