GEORGE TOWN: With fewer farmers now rearing goats, local mutton is expected to cost more in the coming months.
Mutton seller Abdul Kader Mohd Hasan, 81, said he expected the price to soar when demand for the meat increases during the Deepavali period.
For now, a kg of mutton is priced at RM65.
“There is a decrease in local mutton supply as there are now fewer local farmers rearing goats.
“I am now selling imported mutton and lamb that are cheaper than local mutton.
“A kg of imported mutton from New Zealand and Australia is sold at RM55 and it is popular among marketgoers,” he said when met at Chowrasta market yesterday.
Another mutton seller Mohd Baqir Habib said people now seldom buy fresh local meats as they are more expensive.
Hameediyah Restaurant director Muhammad Riyaaz Syed Ibrahim said despite the increasing prices of raw material, his customers do not mind paying for quality food at the restaurant.
“Among the favourite dishes are mutton and lamb shank, which are our top sellers.
“We use frozen imported mutton instead of fresh local meat, and it is priced between RM8 and RM50, depending on the size,” he said.
Asked if there would be a price increase for mutton dishes, Muhammad Riyaaz said there would be price hike not only for mutton but all food items.
“It will be increased by the end of this year, but the management has decided to maintain the existing price for now so as not to burden our customers,” he said.
In PETALING JAYA, Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) vice-president C. Krishnan said the usual mutton curry or mutton varuval is now a luxury item at restaurants.
“The local mutton can cost up to RM75 per kg.
“That’s why most of the restaurants use the imported and frozen one, which costs only between RM40 and RM50 per kg,” he said.
Diners, said Krishnan, have to pay between RM15 and RM18 for a serving of mutton curry prepared using frozen meat, and RM25 per serving for local fresh mutton.
“The price has gone up and some restaurants are not selling at all, or only offering mutton as a special menu item.”
Meat seller A. Ahmad said his profit margin from selling frozen mutton from Australia has gone down tremendously following the price hike.
“The price is now RM65 per kg from between RM35 and RM38 previously,” he said.
Although mutton is a controlled item at the wet market, Ahmad said the authority’s price was lower than the supplier’s price, making sellers like him incur a loss.
Mohd Affindi Saad, who rears goats and sheep in Pengkalan Chepa, said that mutton is still sold at about RM40 per kg in Kelantan but more expensive in the Klang Valley due to higher demand.
“People in the Klang Valley will have to pay RM50 to RM60 per kg for mutton,” he said, adding that a goat below 30kg is sold for RM1,000 for various occasions.
“Some people buy and rear it to be sold later too,” he said.