Bleak beef futures

Pass any restaurant today and everyone is ordering all variants of chicken or fish on the menu and skipping anything that contains beef. Drive past many of the popular nyama choma (roast meat) eating places and there are more staff than customers and very few vehicles parked outside. Bulls that used to fetch 20,000 shillings ($285) at weekly auctions can now be bought for as little as 5,000 shillings. And the latest marketing gimmick is that you’ll get a free ¼ kilo if you buy a kilo of meat at some butcheries.

The cause of all this is rift valley fever, a mysterious deadly disease, that has spread slowly from the remote parts of North Eastern Kenya but has now reached Nairobi and other urban areas despite several measures taken to combat it.

11 thoughts on “Bleak beef futures

  1. MainaT

    Thats sad. Nyamachom is as Kenyan as warm Tusker, annual Mombasa holiday and chagiis. And all becuase of too much rain! No rain problems, too much rain, problems. Ah well.

  2. kenyaonly

    I can just imagine how sad Nairobi looks with no nyamchom, still i dont see that tusker teremkaring with samaki. Things are thick then they might start serving popcorn with pombe like some places in midwest usa

  3. Anonymous

    I do not feel sympathetic since there is a healthier & more humane option.

    Become vegetarian.

    Have you thought of the “hidden” viruses in poultry?

    What is another variant of bird flu hits Kenya?

    The levels of mercury & other carcinogens in fish is high. Mombasa releases raw sewage into the Indian Ocean. Therefore the shallow fishing catches the fish that feed on the sewage.

    L. Victoria is even worse since there is limited mass of water. The supply is full of phosphates from the Sugar farms as well as human waste.

  4. toiyoi

    What a bad timing for KMC?
    But, ti see positive side with potential for windfall profits (for them or any bright chap): selectively(surely they have means to determine) slaughter healthy animal(cheaply) and package/tin the beef for longer shelf life.

    In advocating for the veges option, you seem to ignore that pesticides (that are known to be carcinogens) and chemicals routinely used to farm veges. Nothing is really safe anymore: veges are good, but its a case of making the best of a bad situation

  5. Anonymous

    What people seem to forget is that we shall all die one way or the other. Rift Valley fever or avian flu (which is the scare in my part of my world), we’ll all die. I bought my chicken very confident that my cause of death may very well be a speeding car…
    Being scared of eating for whatever reason (dieting, mercury, carcinogens etc) is all a foreign concept. Our ancestors ate locusts and grasshoppers and God only knows where they had been!
    My philosophy, eat and be happy.
    PS: I am only 55Kg!

  6. Anonymous

    Dear ToiYoi,

    1) The concentration of pesticides & other contaminants e.g. mercury increase as you climb the food chain.

    2) Vegetables & fruits can be washed on the outside. Also leafy vegetables e.g. spinach & kales can be washed. The pesticides inside meat/s products are harder to remove since meat isn’t generally washed in the same manner.

  7. Anonymous

    Actually our ancestors were primarily vegetarian.

    Meat was rare (not unknown) among Kikuyus (I can’t speak for nomadic communities).

  8. bankelele

    MainaT: True it’s a very Kenyan urban culture thing

    kenyaonly: kenyans don’t need any accompaniment for tusker. for me pizza or ice cream will do just fine!

    Marazzmatazz: More so chicken. poor birds – they have just survived christmas holidays, and now they are even more in demand. I have a live one on my balcony getting fat for the weekend.

    toiyoi: true. But KMC, Alpha Foods Farmers Choice (and other premium meat companies) can benefit since their brand offers a measure of quality & assurance to consumers.

    Mimmz: There’s a Livestock ministry (I linked to their statement on RVF) that was hived off from the Ministry of Agriculture in 2004

  9. Anonymous

    Come on, only one person sees the opportunity for profit? Beef futures in three months are going to be great!

    RVF comes around every few years, then goes away. Kiambu has never been hit with this. Prices are down everywhere. Once the scare goes away, the prices will come back up. We all know the hype-fear-forgetfulness cycle that Kenyan society goes through.

    Low risk plan. Dairy farmers sell off their young bulls as they do not give milk. Buy some up at low prices, in Kiambu. Fatten them for a few months in Kiambu, waiting for the price to go back up. Then sell the older, bigger bulls, taking a small profit on the fattening and a big profit from everyone else’s fear.

    All you need is a bold, upcountry relative with time, energy and a farm. Experience in dairy industry preferred. Capital can be provided by Nairobi based relative.

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