Stringent quarantine sends goat smuggling on high
By Laxman Kafle
Kathmandu, Aug. 4: With the tightening of quarantine check by Nepali side along Nepal-India border entry points, illegal import of goats from India has gone up to meet the domestic demand of meat.
The country has experienced goat shortages as the legal import from India has completely stopped following strict quarantine check at the customs, traders have started bringing goats illegally taking advantage of open border.
Around 300-400 goats are being imported from India to Nepal illegally every day, said Deepak Thapa, a goat trader.
The import of goats from India has almost stopped after the government tightened the quarantine check for last five months to ensure that only healthy goats are brought into Nepal, he said.
According to him, scarcity of goats seen in the Kathmandu Valley is due to the tightening of quarantine check on the imported goats at the customs points that has resulted in the soaring of goat meet (mutton) prices in the valley.
At the initial phase of the quarantine check, only around 500-600 goats used to be smuggled into Nepal every week, but the number has now reached to 400 goats daily at present, Thapa told The Rising Nepal.
Director at the Department Of Supply Management and Protection of Consumers Interest Raghunath Mahat said that Indian traders had shown reluctance to supply goats legally after tightening of the quarantine check. They might have feared that they would be forced to return the goats which would be tagged as unhealthy following the check.
The Indian suppliers have to show wither veterinary certificates issued by the Indian authority or complete quarantine check at customs, he said.
“The Indian suppliers are to be blamed for the supply of less number of goats to Nepal from India. The quarantine offices of Nepal at the border points are functioning soundly with all necessary equipment,” Mahat said.
According to him, it is an opportunity for Nepal to make the county self-reliant in meat even after the increase of its prices for short term as the farmers would encourage for goat rearing due to attraction of higher prices. The price of goats will decrease ultimately after the domestic production increases, he said
“The past governments used to introduce policy regarding the quarantine check, the policy was not implemented effectively. As a result, the Indian goats and other animals used to arrive in Kathmandu easily. But this time, the government has implemented the policy effectively and, as a result, Indian traders are unable to supply goats to Nepal,” trader Thapa said.
The tightening of quarantine check is a positive step of the government, but the government should deployed sufficient veterinary doctors at the customs points to check the condition of imported goats, he said.
“Due to the short supply of goats, the price of goat meat has increased significantly, especially in Kathmandu. However, there are few traders who are found resorting to monopolise retail meat business and has been fixing price,” he said.
The price of live-goat in Kathmandu has reached Rs. 640 per kilogram and mutton price reached up to Rs. 1,350, he said, adding that the price of live goats increased by Rs. 100 per kilogram in a five months period. He, however, said that the price of live goats has slightly decreased in Kathmandu Valley after increased goat smuggling.
“I think, there will be a shortage of the goats in the valley during the coming Dashain festival if this situation persisted because supply of local goats will not meet the demand of the valley,” he said.
As a result, per kilogram of mutton will reach at least Rs. 1,800 in the upcoming Dashain festival, he predicted. The daily demand of live goats stands at 1000-1,200 in the Kathmandu Valley, he said, adding that above 50,000 goats are required for Kathmandu Valley during Dashain festival.
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