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Serious Meat Scarcity Hits Town

Sep 29, 2009, 4:59 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh, Lamin B. Darboe and Sainey Marena

Reports reaching this paper have indicated that there is an acute meat shortage in many parts of the Greater Banjul Area.

When this reporter  visited Latikunda Sabiji Market on Sunday there was virtually no butcher at the place.

In an interview with this reporter at his office, Chief Inspector Samba Saidy, the Head of KMC Municipal Police, at the said market revealed that the shortage started in the aftermath of the Koriteh feast.

He said a collection of butchers had informed him that though they were not on a strike, they would not sell meat at the usual price, because of the high cost of cattle.

"Right now there is only one butcher, in fact a Gambian, called Abdourahman Jallow who is selling meat in the whole market and is doing it well," he said.

"As far as I am here, I will not allow anybody to sell meat in this market above the government pegged prices of D60," he said.

"If Abdourahman can afford to buy bull to slaughter, I see no reason why those have been in the field for many years cannot afford it," he posited.

"I know it's a strategy they are playing so that the government can increase the price of meat," he added.

Inspector Saidy said he was on the verge of meeting butchers to see if they are not interested in using their stores.

"You can see it yourself, there is no meat", a disgruntled woman said.

"Their scales are not good, but today we are all facing the problem," other women said at the market.

Some butchers at the Bakau Market maintained that they are equally faced with the challenges of the pinching cost of cattle.

A butcher, who spoke to our reporter at the Bakau Market, said since Koriteh they have not been selling meat until last sunday.

According to him, they've not been selling simply because of the high cost of animals.

Omar Jobe and Momodou Bah, both butchers who have been in the trade for several years, said this situation is undermining their work.

They urged the authorities to intervene and increase the price of a kilo of meat from D60 to at least D75.

At Serrekunda Market, one Mr. Momodou Faal, a butcher, said he sells meat and bone, and steak at D60, D80, respectively.

According to Mr. Faal, who he's been in the business for 27 years, nowadays butchers don't make profit.

Another butcher at the Serekunda Market, Mr. Modou Faye, also expressed similar sentiments.

Some of the customers who spoke to this reporter expressed dismay over meat scarcity.