Eid al-Adha, the second major holiday on the Islamic calendar, took place on June 28 this year and was celebrated for three days until the end of June in most countries across the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Region and South Asia. This occasion is characterized by ritualistic slaughtering and consumption of livestock, including cattle, goats, and sheep. Muslims purchase these animals for Eid al-Adha with the intention of donating a portion of the meat to charity, sharing it with loved ones, and preparing lavish feasts at home. With a global celebration involving over 1.9 billion people, Eid al-Adha, also known as the Islamic Festival of Sacrifice, often triggers an increase in meat prices during the weeks leading up to the holiday.
In Egypt, meat prices soared as high as USD 11.97/kg on June 28, nearly double the price in 2022, at USD 5.98/kg. The average price of a lamb rose by 28.6% to USD 291.28 from USD 226.55 in 2022. Additionally, Egyptian cattle farmers were compelled to raise their prices beyond the reach of most citizens due to a steep increase in the cost of animal feed, which is mostly imported from India and the United States (US) and paid for in USD. Consequently, beef was sold for USD 11.97/kg on June 27 at the Cairo market, marking a 99.8% increase compared to USD 5.99/kg during the same period last year. Similarly, mutton prices rose by 110.9% YoY to USD 12.30/kg compared to USD 5.83/kg in 2022. The price for live cattle and sheep also surged to USD 4.85/kg and USD 5.50/kg, showing a rise of 130.9% and 142.3%, respectively, compared to the previous year.
Source: Tridge, The National
This year, sheep prices in Tunisia have shown significant variation, ranging from USD161 for a small ewe to over USD 646 for a large ram. The average price for a mid-sized sheep stood at approximately USD 291, reflecting a notable 25% increase compared to last year. Along with the rising demand for livestock, other factors contribute to this price surge. Firstly, the escalating costs of fertilizer and animal feed due to the conflict in Ukraine, a major exporter of both commodities. Additionally, Tunisia is grappling with an unprecedented drought, which has adversely affected its own cereal production. This drought-induced scarcity has further compounded the rise in sheep prices.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the high demand for livestock leading up to Eid al-Adha resulted in a significant increase in the average price per head. In Abu Dhabi, the popular Al Nuaimi sheep sold for USD 408.37 per head on June 26, marking a 25% increase from USD 326.70 during the rest of the year. According to Gulf news, imported Australian sheep traded at USD 163.35 per head, showing a 33.3% increase compared to USD 122.51 outside the holiday period.
A substantial amount of imports were necessary to meet the growing demand for livestock. Approximately 1,000 tons of frozen meat in Egypt were imported from India in June. Furthermore, Egypt imported 25,000 cattle, including 5,000 from Sudan and 10,000 from Djibouti. In the UAE, the government approved the entry of 366,035 animals, including sheep, goats, cows, and camels in 2023, representing a 12% increase compared to the 326,913 animals imported in 2022.
According to the Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture, Bahrain witnessed the importation of approximately 50,000 sheep and 300 cows to meet the surge in demand during the three-day Eid celebration. In anticipation of the requirements for Eid al-Adha, Bahrain also imported 2,600 mt of chilled and frozen red meat, along with 7,500 mt of chilled and frozen poultry between May 15 and June 24. The live sheep were sourced from Somalia, Oman, and the UAE, ensuring a diverse supply. Additionally, Bahrain imported chilled and frozen meat from various countries, including Kenya, Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Australia, and New Zealand to fulfill the demand for meat products.
Ensuring the quality of the meat consumed during the celebrations was another significant concern. Consequently, the Egyptian government tightened inspections on the country's meat suppliers to guarantee the fitness of the meat for consumption. Similar efforts were undertaken in the UAE, where the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment implemented a comprehensive plan for the Eid al-Adha season. This included providing essential supplies, diagnostic tools, and a team of specialists to inspect animals intended for slaughter, ensuring their health and freedom from diseases. Teams from the ministry's food diversity and regional sectors ensured compliance with all standards and procedures for importing animals and sacrifices through the country's ports.
Source: Gulf News
In July, a decline in meat prices is anticipated in Egypt and the UAE as demand subsides after the conclusion of the holiday season. Moreover, the market is expected to experience a surplus of meat products due to the substantial volume of livestock and meat imports brought in by both countries to cater to the demand for Eid al-Adha. However, it is anticipated that prices will begin to recover in August.
For further reading, follow the links below: