Demand at the capital's livestock market is down 20 per cent over last year, with reasons from the summer holiday to health campaigns cited.
Ramadan livestock sales drop
Sales at the capital's livestock market have dropped 20 per cent this Ramadan compared with last yearas more people forgo the tradition of buying live animals. Instead, many are buying their meat from butchers and supermarkets in the run-up to Eid. Mubarak al Muhanna, the owner of Al Muhanna Trading Company and one of the main livestock sellers at the Abu Dhabi market, said this Ramadan his sales had dropped to an average of Dh80,000 (US$21,782) a day.
A year ago he generated about Dh100,000 a day from his four outlets. "Last year during Ramadan we were selling about 150 goats a day. This year we can sell maybe 120 a day," said Mr al Muhanna. Arabian goats sold for between Dh650 and Dh700 at the market yesterday, whereas imported goats fetched between Dh550 and Dh600. Sheep cost an average Dh600. "Most of the imported goats here are coming from Iran," said Abdul Raj Duni, a livestock seller at Silver Triangle Trading.
Families across the Gulf have traditionally slaughtered animals for feasts at home or on farms but municipal authorities have stepped up their campaign to urge people to avoid this practice due to hygiene issues and the risk of contracting diseases. Even though it is illegal to slaughter animals in residential premises or public places, some people still cling to the tradition, which has helped increase livestock sales during the holy month in previous years.
But the timing of Ramadan this year has curbed the number of customers who prefer home slaughter. "This Ramadan has come when it is very hot. Some people are not going to buy livestock because they cannot slaughter outside when it is this hot," said Mohammed Anif, who has seen sales volume at his Al Khalid Al Hussain livestock stall drop from a daily average of 50 goats last Ramadan to 40 now. "I always slaughter my goat in my farm but this year it is just too hot outside, so I decided to buy steak from the butchery," said Hamad Osman, a resident in the capital.
As the sales of livestock has decreased, so sales at the Zayed Port Market for Butchers have increased twofold this Ramadan compared with last year. Omar Abubakar, a meat seller at the butchers market, said both sales and volumes at his Al Ekhlas Butchery had doubled this season compared with last Ramadan. "This year we are selling about 400 kilograms of meat daily. Last year we were selling about 200kg per day," said Mr Abubakar. "So we are getting over Dh10,000 every day."
Meat prices at the market range from Dh23 per kilo for goat meat from Somalia and Ethiopia, to Dh31 per kilo for Australian sheep meat. Chicken sales are also twice last year's volumes. "Last Ramadan we sold 20 cartons of chicken a day. Now we are selling about 40 cartons every day," said Abdul Ghulan of Al Tawakkal Poultry Trading. One carton of Al Tawakkal poultry weighs about 8.5kg. email@example.com