Prices of sacrificial animals have gone up in Abu Dhabi ahead of Eid Al Adha. Import of animals has led to price rise, say traders, even as COVID-19 has impacted livestock supply from India, Pakistan by ship. Image Credit: Anwar Ahmad/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Prices of sacrificial livestock have soared at the Abu Dhabi Livestock Market in Mina Zayed, ahead of the Eid Al Adha, which falls on July 31.

Traders say the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in countries such as India and Pakistan has affected the supply of sacrificial animals by sea routes and now they are coming to the UAE only by air cargo, leading to an increase in prices.

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The price hike of sacrificial animals ranges between Dh100 and Dh200 per animal as compared to last year’s Eid Al Adha, the festival of sacrifice. Prices also go up because of bulky and heavier animals, which should be healthy and fit for sacrifice.

“The local breed of sacrificial lamb, Najdi, is currently available between Dh1,350 and Dh1,400 for 16kg to 20kg. The same breed was priced last Eid Al Adha between Dh1,200 and Dh1,300,” Aftab Ali, a Pakistani livestock trader, told Gulf News.

Somali supply

Another breed of Somali goats is in abundance in the market and being sold lately at Dh650 a goat for sacrifices, he said. The prices of Somali goats are more affordable this year as they are coming via sea routes.

“We are expecting to get Indian and Pakistani breeds of goats for sacrifices in a few days by air, but the prices will be costlier due to air transport. Generally, cargo planes transport from 800 to 2,000 animals at a time, while a ship carries over 5,000 animals,” Ali said. But the sacrificial goats and sheep from India and Pakistan will be costlier this Eid. The prices could hover around Dh1,600 to Dh1,700 for a 30kg lamb, he said.

Daulat Khan, another livestock trader from Mohammad Salem Mohammad Livestock at Mina Zayed, said: “This Eid, Somali goats are available in abundance as they are coming by ship and prices are affordable. The quality of meat is also good.”

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Expatriates prefer Somali goats because they are slim and almost fat-free and they weigh about 18kg, while sheep are bulky and full of fat and weigh more than 30kg to 40kg, he said.

Somali animal supplies have been coming to the UAE over the last four months, helping to maintain stocks. Though, it was not coming to the UAE for more than five years in the past, he said.

“Emiratis prefer the local breeds of Najdi and Neemi, which are bred by local farmers and we buy from Al Ain and Al Gharbia farmers. Prices of local breeds always remain high,” he said.

Prices of sacrificial animals go up as the animals get bulkier and heavier. Image Credit: Anwar Ahmad/Gulf News

Naeemi sheep [another local breed] for sacrifice is lately available priced at Dh700 for 18kg.

Another trader, who did not wish to be named, ruled out a shortage of animals in the capital. He stressed that all breeds will be available this Eid, but prices will be a little higher as these animals are being imported by air cargo.

He hoped the situation would improve when sea routes’ supplies resume.