Somalilandsun – Several Jeddah residents on a limited income are worried that the price of livestock will increase ahead of Eid Al-Adha, when Muslims are obliged to give sacrificial meat to the poor.
They told Arab News that weak price control mechanisms have led to the spread of a sacrificial black market, where merchants tamper with the price of livestock for individual gain.
Livestock merchants at the central market, however, have defended the price hikes, saying that the increasing prices of barley and the cost of importing sheep from outside the Kingdom have caused prices to double.
Prices are the highest during this season due to lopsided supply and demand, said several merchants.
Hamad Al-Nasir and Massad Al-Jahni, both citizens, said increasing prices remain a source of constant worry.
“It makes us wonder why there is a total absence of supervision and control over the price of camel and sheep meat coming from suburbs,” Al-Jahni said. “This puts a lot of citizens, especially families on a budget, under a lot of pressure and desperation because they can’t afford to purchase sacrificial meat.”
Naeem Al-Hassani and Mousa Hakami, also citizens, suggest determining prices according to the maturity of the sacrificial animal. This, they think, will regularize and standardize prices according to category and prevent tampering with prices.
They called on the Ministry of Agriculture to be responsible for this and hold violators accountable by implementing heavy penalties.
Suleiman Al-Jabri, chairman of the livestock merchants committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI), has, however, assured consumers that prices would remain stable thanks to the import of more than 1 million head of sheep into the Kingdom over the past few weeks. “Prices have stablized since supply and demand has been pretty balanced,” he said.
“The livestock merchants committee, which was recently formed, is trying hard to maintain stable livestock prices during the Haj season,” he told Arab News.
“Prices in Saudi Arabia remain cheaper than in neighboring Gulf States. Still, limited local production and increased consumption put pressure on the market. Around 70 percent of local market needs are supplied from abroad. Imports come mainly from Sudan and Somalia since imports from Australia have been halted.”
“Livestock shipments will shortly arrive at the Jeddah Islamic Port carrying more than 1 million sheep from Sudan and Somalia,” said Al-Jabri.
– (Arab News )