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Livestock merchants hope for Eid Al Adha upswing

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jul 14,2020 - Last updated at Jul 14,2020

This year, prices of local sheep are expected to range between JD190 to JD230, according to a livestock merchant in Zarqa (JT file photo)

AMMAN — Livestock merchants expect prices of cattle during Eid Al Adha to be less than they were last year coupled with a drop in demand due to the current economic conditions people are facing in light of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The prices of local sheep last year ranged between JD220 and JD250 based on the weight, Isam Al Mashaqba, a meat shop owner and a livestock merchant in Zarqa said on Tuesday.

This year, prices of local sheep are expected to range between JD190 to JD230 for the sacrificial "meaty ones" weighing around 50 to 55 kilogrammes, he told The Jordan Times over the phone.

"There is not much demand so far, but we are hoping that by Eid, demand will pick up," Mashaqba noted.

For his part, Abu Sanad, a meat shop owner and livestock merchant in Marj Al Hamam in Amman, said that he expects prices to range between JD180 to JD200, noting that since Eid is at the end of the month, it is still somewhat early to forecast prices accurately. 

"Generally, I expect that Romanian sheep will be much cheaper this year compared to the last year, and that local meat will also be cheaper," he said, noting that there are people who called to reserve sacrificial cattle for Eid.

Abu Sanad said that although demand is currently good, but due to the current economic situation in relation to the impact of the pandemic "demand will be a lot less than it was last year".

In celebrating Eid Al Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice, Muslims mark the end of a major ritual in Islam, the Hajj or the greater pilgrimage to Mecca. During Eid Al Adha, Muslims of sufficient means are required to sacrifice livestock in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail to God, according to Muslim beliefs.

There are 450,000 head of cattle that meet set standards of sacrifice as well as sufficient amounts of red meats, Minister of Environment and Acting Minister of Agriculture Saleh Kharabsheh said in a statement released on Monday.

Kharabsheh said that the prices are affordable and the ministry has taken into consideration preserving the sustainability of livestock, of which there are 4 million sheep and a million goats, covering 30 per cent of the Kingdom's needs of red meat. The annual per capita share of red meat stands at around 9kg, he added.

Due to demand on local sheep from neighbouring countries, the minister said that around 500,000 head of cattle are exported annually, representing a source of hard currency that brings in more than JD120 million to the Kingdom. 

The cattle will be available for sacrifice in designated areas in Amman and the traditional markets in other governorates as well, the minister said, urging people to perform the sacrifice in those areas where a veterinarian is available to inspect the meats, their validity and the safety of health measures. 

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