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Business & Economy

High sheep prices make buyers ‘ma’ad’

JEDDAH: Livestock buyers say there should be a body in place to monitor fluctuations in prices, as lately there has been a rise in the price of sheep in the Kingdom due to upcoming Haj.
“The price of goats soared unexpectedly in the past few weeks and I think it is inappropriate for traders to implement such price hikes,” says Amjedain Sana, a regular buyer of goats and sheep at the livestock market in Jeddah.
“Livestock traders increase their prices as they see fit, which is wrong. There needs to be a body in place to monitor the sudden price hikes by each trader. Just as one trader raises the price of his sheep, another raises his even higher,” said Sana.
With Haj days away, Saudi Arabia’s livestock markets are packed with buyers and sellers trying to negotiate.
Hamdan Al-Badr, another buyer at the livestock market, disagrees with the new high prices. “The prices are too high when one considers buying more than one goat,” said Al-Badr. “Negotiating with the traders is not easy. They don’t easily agree to bring down the prices,” he said.
Sheep prices have risen up to SR 2,050, and are expected to reach as high as SR 3,000 just two days before the approaching Eid Al-Adha festival.
The boycott of poultry products and the high price of livestock fodder are some of the reasons sheep traders cite for the high prices of livestock this year.
According to Fahd Balghunaim, agriculture minister, the rising cost of poultry was the result of a major shortage in production, with local suppliers able to meet only 45 percent of the demand in the kingdom. He also blamed a 30 to 40 percent increase in the price of animal feed.
“There is a greater demand for domestic goats centered around the time of the festival,” said Abdullah Al-Ghait, a sheep trader.
According to most livestock traders, the greater demand for domestic goats means they can be offered at higher prices ranging from SR 2,000 to SR 3,000, while most imported goats sell for less.
Al-Ghait said that maintaining a livestock farm carries with it great expenses, and the purpose of increasing prices is to balance the expenses of these farms.

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