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Panic as meat supplies dwindle

Moleboheng Metsing

MASERU – The shortage of beef deepened last week as butcheries began running out of supplies.

Lesotho has been facing a serious shortage of beef after South Africa banned exports to Lesotho and other neighbouring countries following an outbreak of the foot and mouth disease in that country.

As a result of the ban local supermarkets have run out of supplies triggering panic within the business sector.

One businessman who spoke to the Sunday Express said supplies for beef, pork and mutton had deteriorated in the past two weeks.

He now fears huge losses.

Motaung Rego, a manager at Bensons Meat Market, said business has been badly affected by the temporary ban on meat.

The company was incurring losses of up to M150 000 a week, he said.

“The loss is terrible. We are almost running out of meat.

“The next few days are going to be bad and we might be forced to close down if we fail to find a supply of quality meat,” Rego said.

He said the butchery had been struggling to meet demand over the past two weeks.

“We supply almost 80 percent of hotels and bed and breakfast facilities across the country and it is now difficult to meet demand,” Rego said.

He said they had even sought meat from the local abattoir although local livestock did not produce quality meat.

A manager at Pick n’ Pay in Maseru, Etienne Buekes, said the ban on meat imports from South Africa had also negatively affected their business.

“We are unable to meet demand, especially satisfying the high income group because of the shortage we are experiencing,” said Buekes.

Pick n’ Pay ran out of stock three days after news of the ban broke out.

Buekes said they have been relying on the national abattoir but “their supply has not been satisfying in terms of quality and quantity.”

Due to international meat supply laws, Lesotho is unable to import meat from other countries, Buekes said.

“Unlike Botswana and Swaziland who are able to get meat from countries like Mozambique, we are unable to buy from other countries. Because Lesotho is landlocked by South Africa, we strictly have to buy from that country only.”

Buekes said consumers should expect a price hike when supplies from South Africa resume.

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