ZIMBABWE has been hit by beef shortage due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) recently across the country, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said.
Zimbabwe has experienced regular outbreaks of the disease in recent times in cattle rich regions of Matabeleland and Midlands, which have adversely affected the industry as the country is an exporter of meat.
The same was also witnessed in Matabeleland South Agricultural Show, where a limited number of cattle were brought for the exhibition due to FMD.
In its monthly update, CCZ said due to outbreak of FMD, the price of beef shot up to $3,80 per kg from $3,60 recorded last month, thereby pushing up the consumer basket for an average family of six by $2,71 to $561,02 as at the end of August 2015.
The food basket increased by 2,46% to $117,95 by end-August 2015.
“As CCZ, we assume that the above price increase is caused by the limited supply of beef on the market due to foot and mouth disease outbreak, which occurred recently and the season of tomatoes which has ended hence the price rise in these certain products,” CCZ said.
In April, the veterinary services department in the Midlands suspended cattle trade in parts of the province due to the outbreak of FMD.
The department also banned the exhibition of cattle at this year’s edition of the Midlands Agricultural Show in an effort to contain the spread of the disease.
CCZ said some of the increases in prices were recorded on sugar by 8c to $1,75 per 2 kg from $1,67, flour by 9c to $1,69 per 2kg and tomatoes by 25c to $0,85 per kg among others.
The price of detergents decreased by 12c to $9,07.
However, decrease in prices was recorded on roller meal by 79c to $9 per 20 kg, 750 ml of cooking oil by 7c to $,35, 2 kg of rice by 5c to $1,55 and onions by 15c from $1 to $0,85.
The prices of other basic commodities, which include margarine, fresh milk, bread, salt, laundry bar and bath soap remained unchanged from end July 2015 figures.
CCZ said it would continue to encourage consumers to shop conscientiously and to always buy certified products.
The watchdog said consumers should check for vital information such as manufacturing and expiry dates and ingredients used in the making of products they buy.
The survey is conducted twice during the first and the last weeks of every month.
The total cost of the food basket and the price of each commodity are arrived at by averaging prices gathered from retail outlets throughout the country.
The basket is considered a fairly accurate depiction of the cost of living in urban Zimbabwe.