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Wholesale butchers' procurement and slaughter practices

(i) Characteristics and seasonality of cattle slaughter at Mokolo

14. Detailed information was obtained from wholesale butchers at weekly markets in Mokolo, Soulede and Ziver about cattle slaughter over a seven month period in 1980-81 (see Table 1). Mokolo is the major urban market and Soulede and Ziver are nearby rural markets. Cattle carcasses were weighed weekly at Mokolo on the busiest market day (Wednesday), and monthly subtotals are shown in Table 2 for the period September 1980-March 1981.

15. Several of the characteristics of cattle slaughter at Mokolo are quite striking. First, 65% of all the cattle slaughtered at Mokolo were females, principally old cows. These cull cows are acquired at the lowest possible price per kilogram, and the quality of their beef is inferior to stall-fed bulls. Second, it is surprising to note that the Mokolo butchers slaughtered only 34 stall-fed cattle (4.3% of 795 head), given the prevalence of stall-feeding by farmers in the villages around Mokolo. Ninety-five percent of all cattle slaughtered at Mokolo were range-fed animals; 83% were acquired in another region, the Diamare Plains, and at such markets as Gazawa, and Meme. Third, cattle attain their maximum carcass weights and hence liveweights from October through December, after having grazed on the fresh, protein-rich grasses during the rainy season and while pasture is still relatively abundant. Beginning in January carcass weights fall off steadily until June, reaching annual lows when pasture is extremely scarce.4/

16. A final striking characteristic is that cattle prices per kilogram (carcass weight plus offals) are lowest in October and November and rise progressively during the dry season, beginning in December.5/ The factors responsible for this trend are that: a) cattle liveweights and carcass weights decline steadily during the dry season; b) slaughter cattle supply contracts in the area around Mokolo and in the cattle markets of the Diamare Plains as the dry season progresses; and c) demand for beef remains relatively strong during the most of the dry season in rural areas.6/ Rural butchers also compete with town butchers for the limited supply of locally available slaughter cattle, bidding up prices in the process.

Table 1: Selected characteristics of cattle slaughtered at one urban and two rural markets in the MANDARA MOUNTAINS, September, 1980-March 1981

Market

No. of Cattle Slaughtered

No. of Males

No. of Females

No. of Stall-Fed Cattle

No. of Oxen

No. of Range-Fed Cattle

No. of Cattle Bought in Diamare Plains Markets

No. of Cattlea Acquired Locally

Average Age of Cattle Slaughtered (Years)

Acquisition Price (FCFA)

Weight of Four Quarters (Kg.)

Economically Useable Carcass Weightb (Kg.)

Price Paid Per Kg. Carcass Weightc (FCFA)

Mean

S.D.

Mean

S.D.

Mean

S.D.

Mean

S.D.

Soulede

37

27

10

11

2

24

2

35

4.2

42,715

16.519

107.9

36.2

133.6

45.4

317

53

Ziver

39

31

8

21

2

15

12

27

5.1

49.577

10.336







Mokolod

220

71

141

9

a

211

182

38

5.3

40.443

10.959

95.6

27.2

126.0

32.9

323

53

Mokoloe

575

195

379

25

3

544

492

93

0.1

41.505

10.211







Totalf

871

325

530

85

7

795

577

194

5.8

41.054

11.453







Totalg

257

98

151

29

2

235

183

74

5.2

40.774

12.238

98.0

28.7

127.5

34.0

322

53

Source: Survey of butchering and retailing.

a Local acquisition is defined as purchase within a 20 kilometer radius of the market.
b The economically useable carcass weight is the four quarters plus edible offals.
c This in not a weighted mean. Each observation is equally weighted.
d This category includes only cattle slaughtered on market day (Wednesday) in Mokolo.
e This category includes cattle slaughtered on days other than market day in Mokolo.
f These figures are totals for the entire sample.
g These figures are a subtotal of the entire sample. Carcass weights and therefore the price paid par kg. were obtained only for cattle slaughtered at Soulede and at Mokolo on market day consisting of 257 (37 + 220) head.

Table 2: Cattle slaughter at Mokolo on the day of the large market, September 1980-March 1981


Number of Carcasses Weighed

No. of Males

No. of Females

No. of Stall-Fed Cattle

No. of Range-Fed Cattle

No. of Cattle Bought in Markets of Diamare Plains

Number of Cattle Bought Around Mokolo

(1)
Mean Carcass Weight (kg.)

Standard Deviation

(2)
Mean Weight of Carcass Plus Fifth Quarter (kg.)

Standard Deviation

(3)
Mean Acquisition Price (FCFA)

Standard Deviation

(4)
Mean Price Paid Per kg. of Beef (3)/(2)

Standard Deviation

September

24

13

11

0

24

16

8

95.9

27.1

124.9

33.4

39.155

13.222

314

64

October

33

12

13

3

30

25

7

114.7

38.3

147.5

45.1

43.895

14.070

304

39

November

35

12

23

5

30

24

11

109.0

33.3

142.1

38.7

42.776

15.026

299

41

December

48

14

34

1

47

40

0

95.6

23.3

126.5

28.9

39.552

9.203

317

55

January

37

7

30

0

37

36

1

87.0

16.5

1 10.5

20.9

39.257

7.359

339

49

February

20

7

13

0

20

18

2

58.0

22.2

115.7

20.2

38.475

8.359

337

47

March

23

6

17

0

23

22

1

53.0

14.0

109.9

18.2

39.108

8.843

357

30

Total

220

71

141

9

211

182

38

90.6

27.2

125.6

32.9

40.443

10.959

323

53

Source: Survey of butchering and retailing.

(ii) Sources of urban slaughter cattle supply

17. The butchers at Mokolo, Mora and Koza, the three principal towns of the Mandara Mountains region, depend heavily on the cattle markets of the Diamare Plains for their supply of slaughter cattle. These urban butchers procured about 75%, or 2,485 of the 3,313 cattle they slaughtered in 1980, in the markets of the Diamare Plains. It is also estimated that approximately 1,100 head of the 2,000 cattle slaughtered in regional towns other than Mokolo, Mora and Koza were procured in the Diamare Plains. Summing across the two subgroups, approximately 5,300 head of cattle were slaughtered by urban butchers in the towns of the Mandara Mountains region in 1980, of which 3,580 head or about two-thirds were acquired in the markets of the Diamare Plains (see Table 3). The remaining third was obtained from the Mandara Mountains regional extensive herd and from producers of stall-fed cattle. Nearly 1,500 head were taken off the regional extensive herd for slaughter by urban butchers, but only 230 or 4.3% of the 5,300 head slaughtered in towns were stall-fed animals. In contrast to urban butchers, rural butchers procure far larger numbers of stall-fed cattle for slaughter (1,595 of which 590 on the hoof and 1,005 "on the rail"). Cattle and beef flows into, within and out of the Mandara Mountains region are depicted in Figure 2.


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