Muscat: Omanis flocked to Eid Habta markets across the country amid the long Eid Al Adha holiday.
Eid Habta are traditional livestock markets that goes back centuries and sell livestock.
The markets turn into a beehive of activity six days before Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha as Muslims are required to either slaughter an animal or make a donation to the poor.
Habta markets can be seen in the provinces of Rustaq, Nakhal, Awabi, Nizwa, Yanqul, Bahla, Ibri, Izki, Adam, Mudhaibi, Ibra, Sinaw, Bidbid, Sur, Jaalan, Bidyah, Khasab, Seeb and Muscat.
Auctions on livestock take place in allocated areas in the local markets with professional auctioneers overseeing proceedings.
The auctioneers earn at least 3 per cent of each head of livestock sold.
There is more than one auctioneer in each Eid Habta market.
Auctions for livestock start at 180 riyals and could go up to 800 riyals, while the price of a goat could start at 50 rials and go up to 200 riyals.
Omani goats, sheep and cows are available in all Eid Habta markets and cost at least two times as much as imported ones.
Eid Habta organisers say many nationals prefer Omani livestock as opposed to imported stock, since their meat is very tender and easy to cook.
Auctioneers make at least 800 riyals in less than five days from the auctions.
Some of the livestock owners made more than 7,000 riyals due to the huge demands for local livestock.
Nasr Al Hinai, livestock owner, told Gulf News, that he had made more than 6,500 riyals this year as there has been huge demand for local livestock, especially goats.
Ahmad Al Mamari, an Ibri resident, said that he couldn’t afford to buy local livestock as they were very expensive.
“I bought an imported goat for 80 riyals where the price of the local one reaches more than 140 rials at least,” Al Mamari said.
Traffic congestion has been reported around most of the provincial local markets amid the surge in business.
Traffic snarls were reported in Seeb, Mutrah, Mudhaibi, Ibri, Sur, Sohar, Barka, Rustaq, Nizwa, Bahla and other provinces.
The government and private sectors have both declared a nine-day holiday.