Senior agricultural economist for FBN Business Paul Makube warned on Monday that there will be a shortage of meat supply as cattle farmers start re-building their herds. He added that it might lead to an increase in prices of meat. This shortage is as a result of the severe drought that had tormented some parts of the country.
Economist Makube said with the recent rains in large parts of the country, production and grazing conditions are most likely to improve. But even more rain is needed to ensure plenty food for cattle producers to last through the winter period.
Also, due to limited feed-supply and the increase in maize and other input prices, feeding margins are expected to come under pressure this year to ensure even circulation.
“The economic outlook has deteriorated and unemployment has reached a record high. This means that a further rise in meat prices will be constraint by affordability, as consumers will simply switch to more affordable protein sources such as chicken if red meat becomes too expensive,” said Economist Makube.
The meat prices could also be influenced by the demand from consumers who are currently struggling to cope with life due to increasing interest rates, household expenses, electricity costs and miscellaneous expenses.
A decrease in the number of herds will definitely mean that farmers will have less income since they depend on sales from the animals to maintain their cash flow. Therefore, cattle farmers should put into consideration certain factors as they rebuild their herds to avoid financial setbacks.
The most pressing issue for cattle farmers presently is overcoming the hurdles surrounding their financial cash flow as they aim to re-build their herds to normal levels, with little or no income coming in from the animals Makube observed.
To survive this condition, cattle farmers will have to avoid selling the productive animals to maintain production at the farm.
“Livestock farmers that are not well diversified and have used up their capital reserves should approach their lender immediately to possibly restructure or finance the purchase of heifers, feed and repayment of current debt. Banks will always assess the situation on an individual basis since farmers implement different herd-building strategies depending on their exposure,” said Makube.
“Fortunately, not all livestock farmers have been severely affected by the drought. These farmers may adopt a more aggressive strategy of buying more heifers and acquiring more land in order to benefit when the price of meat goes up and production conditions improve.”
Hopefully, this scarcity of meat will not lead the people to eating monkeys and rats which could result to Ebola and Lassa fever.