KENYA – Goat meat, which was once a beloved and culturally significant ingredient in Kenyan homes due to its distinct taste, is increasingly disappearing from menus throughout the country due to rising costs.

With the soaring costs, fewer and fewer families can now afford goat meat, leading to concerns among both consumers and those in the goat meat industry.

Mohammed Sora, a veteran goat seller at Kiamaiko Market in Nairobi, has observed the rising cost and attributes it to the low supply.

He explained that prolonged drought conditions have resulted in significant livestock losses, making it increasingly difficult to find goats for sale locally.

Additionally, he noted that the few goat farmers who still possess stock are reluctant to sell in the local market as they find the export market more lucrative, fetching better prices.

“Many people lost their goats to famine, and those who still have them prefer the export market because they can sell at once, in bulk. Right now, we are buying one goat for Sh10,000 to Sh14,000, and it’s for resale,” he said.

“This is a sharp increase from Sh5,000 to Sh7,000 a few months ago. The high prices have affected our business.”

Ghulam Nabi, who operates a Butchery in Nairobi, emphasized that the price of goat meat seems to rise daily due to increasing demand from international markets such as the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Egypt.

He pointed out that in the international market, goat meat is purchased in dollars, and the exchange rate currently stands at a staggering Sh150. This has forced local sellers to compete with exporters and subsequently pass the rising costs on to consumers.

“That’s why goat meat in butcheries now costs Sh850 to Sh900 a kilo,” he said.

“The quantities that customers are accustomed to are becoming increasingly hard to obtain. I have had to buy like 20 goats at once, but most times, they deliver just a fraction of that, sometimes as few as two goats.”

In addition, Wallace Wanjohi, an exporter to Dubai, highlighted that part of the shortage is also attributed to the ban on goats from some North Eastern regions due to Foot and Mouth disease.

Consequently, exporters are relying on goats from Narok, a smaller market. This poses challenges as it is difficult to find many farmers in Narok with over 1,000 goats at once, even when they receive such huge orders.

The purchase price from slaughterhouses in Narok stands at Sh460 a kilo, while it is sold in Dubai for Sh933 (US$6.2) a kilo.

The high prices in the local market and the scarcity of supply have also affected exporters negatively. Doreen Gacheri, founder of Moissanite, a company that exports meat to Gulf countries, revealed that the demand for goat meat is exceptionally high, but the rising prices pose challenges for exporters.

She mentioned that just a year ago, they used to buy goat meat for Sh450 per kilo, but the current price has surged to Sh680 per kilo, which directly impacts their export business.

In response, they have adjusted their export prices to US$6.5 per kilo (Sh980) to remain competitive in the export market.

However, there is a glimmer of hope with the arrival of the current rains, which is expected to bring relief to the livestock industry.

Moses Mbugua, the owner of a butchery in Nairobi’s Pipeline, noted that not too long ago, he could purchase goat meat for Sh560 a kilo, but the prices have since escalated.