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At least 240 indigenous butcheries have closed since January as a result of stiff competition from private abattoirs that have opened retail shops, the National Indigenous Butcheries Association of Zimbabwe has said.

The sssociation’s chairman, Mr Stephen Mazorodze, said recently the majority of butcheries were in Harare.

The closures come after the Competition and Tariff Commission held public hearings in January to determine whether Koala Meats, Montana and Surrey were trying to push out small retailers out of business by creating a monopoly.

Earlier the commission had launched an investigation in 2012 into unfair business practices by the private abattoirs.

“More than 240 butcheries have closed since the public hearings and three-quarters of these butcheries that have closed are in Harare while the rest are spread across the country,” he said.

Mr Mazorodze added that they were still waiting for a verdict from the commission.

“Last month the CTC told us that we would have a ruling on the case before the end of November but that has since been postponed to end of December this year,”

CTC chairman Mr Ndabaningi Sibanda said the ruling was postponed because they were in the process of conducting a holistic study to understand what is taking place in the sector from the farmer to the buyer.

He said that abattoirs were controlling the supply chain which was working to their aantage as the small players did not have the same capa- city.

“The thing is that abattoirs have got backward and forward integration meaning that they control the whole supply chain that’s why they are opening retail butcheries,” he said.

“Indigenous butcheries are buying meat from the abattoirs and reselling it at a higher price and we are moving countrywide to understand from the primary producer to the auctioneer for the ruling to be successful.”

Private abattoirs have been accused of expanding into the high-density suburbs which were previously dominated by small butcheries.

As a result they have been accused of manipulating prices to their benefit. Local chicken, whose wholesale price was $3,10kg and between $3,80 and at $4,10kg retail, was going for $3,40kg in butcheries owned by the private abattoirs.

Source : The Herald

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