x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Sharjah livestock prices rise before Eid

Market prices for some livestock doubles, with some people saying they will not be able to afford to offer a sacrifice this year.

SHARJAH // Market prices for some livestock have doubled ahead of Eid al Adha, with some people saying they will not be able to afford to offer a sacrifice this year. Somali sheep priced at Dh300 (US$81) during last year's Eid al Adha are now fetching Dh600, while the price of Australian sheep has risen to Dh700 from Dh450. Syrian sheep have doubled in price to Dh1,400 and a local billy goat that cost Dh1,000 last year now costs Dh1,600.

Traders warned prices would continue to rise as Eid celebrations neared. Mustafa Habib, a Pakistani sheep salesman, said: "This is our time also to make some good money. [Despite] rising rental costs, feeder costs and the financial crisis prices of our goods have remained static. This is our chance." However, many expatriates said they were either skipping the sacrificial ritual in favour of donating to charity, or sending money home to pay for sacrifices in their home countries, where prices for animals remained lower.

Nazim Khan, from Pakistan, said he had conducted a sacrifice every year of the past decade, but was alarmed at the price increases in Sharjah. "I will be sending money home to my mother in Pakistan to sacrifice for me. What is important is doing the ritual, not where it is done." Miro Sebagala Kiwani, from Côte d'Ivoire, said he would give money to charity rather than offer a sacrifice. "There is this idea of sharing an animal, we used to do it at home, but here no one is doing it, so giving money to charity ... is a viable alternative."

Authorities in Ras al Khaimah have already warned traders not to increase livestock prices and said those caught doing so would be fined. Last week, the consumer protection unit at the Ministry of Economy made livestock suppliers and traders sign an agreement that they would not raise prices for the festival. ykakande@thenational.ae