March 17, 2023
Sri Lanka expected to witness further rise in beef prices as transport ban comes into force
Sri Lanka is likely to see further increase in beef prices as the island nation's northern province has banned the transportation of cattle to other provinces and slaughterhouses.
The ban was imposed due to lumpy skin disease identified in herds in that area, officials and industry stakeholders said.
"The disease is also spreading to other provinces in Sri Lanka," S. Vaseeharan, the Provincial Director at Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH) told EconomyNext. He said all the police stations have been informed to halt cattle transportation and health certificates are required to transport them after the animals are cleared of lumpy skin diseases.
Officials are worried of the disease spreading due to illegal transportation.
Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts have been identified as high-risk zones, while Vavuniya, Jaffna and Manner districts are under surveillance.
The northern province accounts for 15% of total beef production in the island, according to the government's official data.
"Due to the transportation restrictions in that affected area, the supply will go down," Dr. M Ijas, Chief Municipal Veterinary Surgeon at Colombo Municipal Council told EconomyNext. "When there is a low supply, the price will increase. And the northern area has a larger supply of beef."
Market players said the move could increase the price of other protein-based products including chicken, pork and mutton.
Lumpy skin disease was first detected in Mullaitivu in February and the number of cattle prone to the disease varies between 300-500 or 3000-5000 depending on the area, Vaseeharan said.
He said there is no specific treatment for the disease, and infected animals should be quarantined and left to recover.