(Business in Cameroon) - The August 19, 2021, meeting with Minister of Trade Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana does not seem to have deterred beef sellers from their plan to increase the prices of that food product.
At the "Acacias" market, in Yaoundé VI, the price of a kilogram of boneless beefsteak is being sold at XAF3,000 instead of the official XAF2,800 price tag. Such price increase has also been noticed in markets at Etoudi, Essos, Mvog-Mbi, Nkolndongo, and Mimboman. The testimonies gathered are similar to this statement from a housewife at Acacias: "We buy a kilogram of boneless beefsteak at XAF3,000. Some sellers even add XAF200 to that price claiming that meat is scarce now. We have no other choice than to buy at the prices they deem fit. On Saturday [August 21], I bought a kilogram of beef at XAF3,500."
The sellers interviewed claim the price hike was due to an increase in the prices of products right from abattoirs, transport costs, and taxes. "Beef prices have increased even at slaughterhouses. When we add transport costs and taxes we have to pay here, we have no other choice than to sell at those prices," a seller said at Acacias.
When asked whether he was aware of the official price tag issued by the Ministry of Trade, his colleague responded: "they stay inside the Ministry and just set prices without even being aware of the realities on the ground. We won't make a profit if we sell our products at XAF2,800."
During the August 19 meeting with the Minister of Trade, beef producers had revealed why beef prices were going up. The reasons include a lack of livestock control mechanism, epidemics, transport hassles, rustling middlemen entering the process, the dropping number of livestock farmers and also of the livestock, Boko Haram attacks, the sociopolitical crisis in the North-West and the South-West, climate change, the drought as well as the lack of a support mechanism to encourage livestock farming.
In response, Minister Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana ordered them to keep to the official price tag because there has been no increase in fuel prices or a rise in the costs of any other variable to justify this hike in beef prices. He also reminded that middlemen were prohibited in the beef marketing process. "We won’t condone unlawful practices. From now on, the official price index is mandatorily applicable. So, just abide by it. A kilogram of boneless beefsteak should be XAF2,800 in Yaoundé and in Douala a kilogram of bone-in beef should be XAF2,300," the official said.
However, sellers are not complying with that order.