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Kenyans all set to usher in Christmas with goat meat



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Goat meat features prominently on the Christmas menus in many Kenyan homes. Some of it is stewed, another portion goes to the dry-fry pot, but the ribs always end up on the barbecue grill, along with the intestines, liver and heart.

The intestines are cleaned and stuffed with boiled meat and congealed blood and then grilled to make the famous Kenyan sausage — mutura. The legs and head are, of course, boiled to make thick delicious soup. There is no part of the goat that goes to waste. Simply put, Christmas would not be Christmas in Kenya without a goat to feast on.

And the business-savvy fellows make a killing from this tradition every December.

“Every year, I rear a few he-goats for sale during Christmas. This week, I sold four goats for between Sh5,000 and Sh12,000. I grow vegetables, but knowing the demand for goat meat during Christmas, I make sure I cash in by selling at least two goats every Christmas,” says Mr Gilbert Kariuki, a Kiambu farmer.

While most merrymakers prefer to do the slaughtering themselves, nowadays, it is possible to get an already slaughtered goat. Mr Silas Makau, a butchery owner in Athi River, Machakos County, explains this emerging trend.

“Besides selling goats, which go for between Sh10,000 and Sh12,000, depending on the size, we also offer slaughtering and roasting services for an extra Sh3,500. Nowadays, most customers opt to buy a goat that is already slaughtered because it is more convenient,” he explains.

Goat-eating in the past, he observes, was an elaborate ceremony, ritualistic even. Today, people just want to sit and enjoy the meat sooner rather than later without breaking a sweat,” he adds.

Besides the convenience an already slaughtered goat affords, some buy the meat from butcheries on religious grounds. Ms Rosemary Wanjiku, a born-again Christian, abhors having goats slaughtered at home, associating it with a traditional ritual she witnessed as a young girl.

For those who plan small family parties, the best option would be to buy the meat per kilo, for between Sh550 and Sh700 at most butcheries.

But if you buy directly from the slaughterhouse, it costs about half that amount. You can also buy from wholesale meat suppliers. If you live in Nairobi, make your way to Kiamaiko Market at Huruma, where a kilo of goat meat goes for as little as Sh230.

At the Dagoretti slaughterhouse in Kiambu County, a kilo sells at between Sh300 and Sh350, while an abattoir in Kiserian, Kajiado County, sells a kilo at Sh350.

The prices of goats tend to skyrocket during the festive season. Ms Rahab Wanjiku, a subsistence farmer, knows this only too well following an unfortunate experience last year. In order to try and save, she bought three goats in August for Sh12,000 at the Kiserian Market and started fattening them for Christmas in a pen she had built outside her house.

Then, at the end of November, she woke up to find that they had been stolen. Ms Wanjiku was forced to pay Sh12,000 for just one goat to save her family’s celebrations.