The government’s plan to intervene in the market to keep goat prices stable looks like a non-starter as Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) does not have adequate animals.
State-owned NFC had procured 65 goats as of Sunday evening, the fourth day of the Dashain festival when consuming meat dishes is a major part of the celebrations. “We expect to receive another 150 goats by Sunday night,” said Nawaraj Upadhyay, deputy general manager of NFC.
The corporation had planned to sell 3,400 goats from its depot at Thapathali during this Dashain. It expects to begin sales on Monday.
NFC has fixed the price at Rs 406 per kg for goats weighing less than 20 kg. Animals weighing above 20.5 kg and up to 30 kg will cost Rs 418 per kg and those weighing above 30 kg will cost Rs 425 per kg.
Meanwhile, private traders have been selling goats at Rs 425 to Rs 450 per kg. Last year, prices charged by the corporation ranged from Rs 375 to Rs 390 per kg. With NFC scrambling to obtain goats, private traders have the market to themselves and they have been fixing the rates as per their wishes.
Hopeful goat buyers have been visiting the NFC office since the beginning of the festival, but they have had to return disappointed.
Tulsi Ram Subedi of Sinamangal who went to the NFC office on Sunday to inquire about he-goats said this was his second fruitless visit. “I used to buy goats from NFC every year, but this time they have been tardy. “I have made two visits, on Ghatasthapana and today, but both times I had to return empty-handed.”
NFC blamed floods and landslides at the points of origin for the delay in getting adequate goats. According to Upadhyay, the corporation obtains the animals from Surkhet, Nepalgunj and Siraha.
Upadhyay said that the first batch of goats had just arrived in the Kathmandu valley, and that they would be sold from Monday. “We have hiked prices a little compared to last year as we had to pay farmers more and transportation costs too have risen,” he added.