After fish & veggies, beef price hike leaves Goans in a stew

CLINTON D’SOUZA | JUNE 22, 2024, 12:32 AM IST


Goans have been grappling with rising prices for various commodities, especially during the monsoon season. From fish to vegetables, and now even meat, the cost of essentials has surged, making daily life more challenging for many. This special report focuses on the impact of these price hikes, particularly for beef, on consumers.

The monsoon fishing ban has caused fish prices to double, and beef costs have also seen a sharp increase. Several factors contribute to this rise, including transportation issues and a shortage of beef from neighboring States. 

During a visit to the markets in Panjim and Mapusa, it was evident that beef supplies were low. Manna Bepari, President of the Qureshi Meat Traders Association, explained that shortage is due to Eid celebrations and strict border checks that prevent beef trucks from entering the State.

He said, "the shortage will continue until June 23 or 24 and after that, availability should return to normal."

On restrictions on transportation, Bepari cited law and order concerns. "There’s panic, and to maintain control, they have limited beef transport to prevent potential disturbances like stone-throwing," he said.

Another reason for the beef shortage, Bepari noted, is the large portion of locally sourced beef from the country is being exported internationally, leaving less for the local market. This has driven up prices and caused a decline in availability for Goan consumers. 

"We need the government to step in and help regulate the market. Stopping the export of beef would be a good start. It would help us maintain enough supply locally and keep prices more affordable’, he said.

Despite these challenges, Bepari assured that beef transportation is legal. "Most of the beef comes from neighboring States with proper licenses and permits," he stated.

Another vendor in Panaji confirmed the shortage but noted the high demand. "Some shops have beef, and they sell out quickly, while others remain closed due to the lack of supply," the vendor said. "Yes, the cost of beef has gone up and the business is being affected also moreover due to shortage, some have some have nothing.

The rising prices and shortages have not only affected consumers but also local traders and vendors. Bepari urged the government to intervene and halt beef exports to stabilize the local market. "Local traders are suffering huge losses due to the non-availability," he lamented.

For many Goans, the increased cost of meat is a huge burden. Families that consume meat like beef are struggling to cope with the higher prices and limited availability. 

Maria Fernandes a Panaji resident said "We used to buy beef almost twice a week, but now it’s become a luxury as the prices are just too high, first it was expensive, now getting it is also not easy”.

Local restaurants are also feeling the pinch. Tony Fernandes, who runs an eatery in Anjuna, said, "We’ve had to raise our prices a little more, which hasn’t gone down well with our customers. But hopefully things will be back to normal soon”.

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