The price of beef has dropped suddenly by Tk 130 – Tk 230 per kg within the last two weeks. Retailers throughout the capital are selling beef for Tk 550 – Tk 650 per kg, a significant decrease compared to Tk 780 – Tk 800 per kg recorded two weeks ago.
Traders have reduced the price of beef after a long eight months. Though beef prices are low in Lalbagh and Mugda areas of Dhaka, kitchen market retailers in many areas – including Mailbag, Rampura, and Badda are still charging their customers Tk 700 – Tk 720 per kg.
Cattle farmers claimed that the price has come down because butchers have stopped making excessive profits. Butchers, however, are saying that the price has come down due to lower meat quality, and the reduced rates are unlikely to last long.
Due to the sudden decrease in the price of meat, some buyers are raising questions about the quality of meat.
A number of buyers told the correspondent that the price of meat differs by Tk 100 depending on the market, but there has been no news about the price of cattle feed falling much. All of a sudden, the traders are selling beef at a 17 per cent price drop.
Abdus Salam, a member of the Bangladesh Meat Traders Association and owner of Salam Enterprise in Mugda Bazar, said, “I am selling beef at Tk 650 per kg. I was able to buy from the wholesale market at a lower price, so I am selling at a lower retail price.
“However, the quality of meat has decreased. The beef that is being sold at a lower price is cow meat. If a businessman wants to sell bull meat, he cannot sell it for less than Tk 750 per kg.”
General Secretary of Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association Shah Mohammad Imran said, “One thing is clear that beef has gone beyond the reach of most people for the past one and a half years.
“On top of that, due to the increase in the price of other daily necessities, beef has become a luxury food item in the diet.”
He added, “Cattles reach from farms to buyers in three to four phases. A butcher usually sells three to four cows of bulls daily, and makes at least Tk 4,000 – Tk 5,000 in profits per medium size cattle, excluding shop rent and staff costs.
“Due to the high price of beef, the butcher who used to slaughter four cows, cannot even sell one cow daily. As a result, they are trying to sell more cows with less profit per cow, not being able to cover the cost of shop rent and staff.”
That is, more sales at a lower price, more profit. There is no other reason behind the price reduction, he added.
According to the market price data of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), beef is currently being sold at Tk 730 to Tk 750 per kg in the Dhaka markets. A week ago it was Tk 750 to Tk 780 per kg, and it was at Tk 660 – Tk 700 per kg at the same time last year.
According to market insiders, the price of beef was Tk 650 – Tk 700 per kg in different markets of the capital last January. On the pretext that cows are being sold at high prices in the market, traders increased the price of meat from Tk 680 – Tk 720 last February.
After a few days, the price of beef increased further to Tk 750 per kg. Then on the occasion of Shab-e-Barat in March, the price rose again to Tk 780 – Tk 800 per kg.