With only two days are left before Eid, livestock stalls at the local markets are almost empty, except for a small number of goats and sheep, leaving customers little room for bargaining.
Prices of sacrificial animals have, therefore, increased considerably mainly because of the limited import from Australia, Somalia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Sudan and other countries.
Blaming the high price tag on low supply, traders interviewed by Khaleej Times at the livestock wholesale markets in Mina in Abu Dhabi yesterday, reported low business ahead of Eid Al Adha, compared to last year. "Prices have gone up for a simple reason there were no shipments coming in. With only two days to go for Eid and our stalls are poorly stocked. We cannot blame importers because they're afraid of importing a large number of animals as they fear big losses due to lower sales this year," said Ammar Shujaa, sales manager of Shujaa Livestock Trading Establishment.
"It's risky to import large consignments due to the stagnant market. Demand has gone down and we don't really know the reason for it," said A. Khan, another salesman.
Pointing that businesses of many traders had suffered a setback in the past two years, Ammar said the situation in the market this year is bleak. "There are no indicators of any improvement," he said.
He said one of the main reasons behind the low demand was that many expats now prefer to send money back home where their families would slaughter sacrificial animals on their behalf.
Ammar also brought up an important issue regarding competition for which he blamed the authorities for not taking serious action.
He said there were a lot of unlicensed traders who invade the market during Eid days to sell livestock illegally from their trucks, which they park right outside the market.
"There are 71 licensed stalls inside this market. Chances are already narrow for potential buyers. Every year we get scores of trucks that just invade the market to compete with licensed traders, though we work the whole year for little profit, waiting these seasonal days. We have been raising the issue with the municipality but no action has been taken. This year we have all signed a petition and we hope something would be done," he noted.
Saif Al Molouk, owner of Florida Trading Livestock establishment, said business was very brisk before Eid and no signs that it would improve. "Previously, we used to receive many customers several days before Eid, but this year only a small number are turning up. Even those who do, do so to check the prices with just a few buying on the same day."
Asked why the hike in prices, Saif Al Molouk said: "We're forced to do that. We've purchased goats at much higher prices this year because of the relatively low supply."
On prices of animals, Ammar said, only livestock from Somalia is available at a low price ranging between Dh150 and Dh220. A big Jazeeri sheep from Iran is sold at between Dh600 and Dh650, an Indian sheep is also priced at Dh600-700. Australian sheep is more expensive ranging between Dh300 and Dh400. A big Sudanese sheep is available for up to Dh400, compared to Dh300 last year.
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