x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bigger supplies of sheep, goats and cows mean cheaper Eid prices in UAE

People looking to buy sheep, cows or goats to sacrifice for Eid Al Adha will pay less than last year.

Dr Hashem Al Nuaimi, director of the customer protection department, says prices for meat will not change for Eid.  Lee Hoagland / The National
Dr Hashem Al Nuaimi, director of the customer protection department, says prices for meat will not change for Eid. Lee Hoagland / The National

DUBAI // Shoppers will not have to pay higher prices for animals to sacrifice this Eid Al Adha.

Last year a shortage of livestock drove up the prices of sheep, cows and goats, prompting the Ministry of Economy’s customer protection department to act.

Now, with Eid only a few weeks away, greater supply has seen prices drop by about 30 per cent compared with last year, said Dr Hashem Al Nuaimi, director of the department.

“Everything is available this year,” Dr Al Nuaimi said. “There will be no shortage and people will pay normal prices for livestock.”

The increase in the number of animals was caused by restrictions on the re-export of livestock, he said.

Abdulla Alawar, a trader at the livestock market in Al Qusais, said: “If you have an animal that was sold for Dh1,500 last year, this year it will be sold for Dh1,200.

“Although the profit percentage is smaller we have a big quantity. If we sell more animals, our profit will be more.”

Dr Al Nuaimi said there were no fixed margins on the sale of animals.

“There’s no fixed price, it is a free market,” he said. “But we look at fairness. I will look at the difference in price between now and Eid to see if there have been big changes.

“If a trader buys the cow or sheep for Dh1,000 and it says that on the invoice, and if he is selling it for Dh2,000, that is illegal. We will fine him in that case, up to Dh100,000.”

It is also illegal for unlicensed traders to sell animals outside the main gates of livestock markets.

The practice is already banned in Dubai, but Dr Al Nuaimi said he would also try to stop it in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, where it was more common.

“We will stop it all over the country,” said Dr Al Nuaimi. “I have banned it everywhere because it is illegal.”

He warned that animals bought from unlicensed traders were not guaranteed to be hygienic.

Inspectors from the ministry plan to carry out regular checks in the market.

The public can call the consumer protection department on 6002222 to report any price increases.

mcroucher@thenational.ae