Brazil beef ban sends prices of samosa, kebab soaring

Updated 10 July 2013

Brazil beef ban sends prices of samosa, kebab soaring

Citizens and expatriates alike in the Kingdom are feeling the pinch of ban on beef imports from Brazil since last December, with prices shooting up by as much as 40 percent since the ban. Brazil was the largest supplier of beef to the Kingdom up until the ban was imposed.
The high price of beef is a cause of concern for everyone during Ramadan, when demand rises. Following the ban on Brazilian beef, India has emerged as the largest supplier of meat followed by Australia, but the combined supplies from these two countries still falls short of demand, leading to prices shooting up.
With traders also seeking to hoard beef stock to meet demand during Ramadan, prices have spiraled on a regular basis particularly in the case of Indian beef, which is similar to the Brazilian kind with less fat, while the Australian beef has more fat content.
In bulk trading, an 18-kg carton of beef, which was selling at SR 270 prior to the Brazil ban, is now being sold at SR 370. It was priced at SR 340 until a few days ago.
Beef is widely used during Ramadan by Saudi families in the form of mince for a variety of dishes including “samosa” and “kebabs.”
The price of mince or ground beef has doubled now in the wholesale market with an 8-kg carton holding 20 400-gram packs each selling at SR 35 against SR 20 earlier.
Beef is also used in “kabsa” and “ruz bukhari.” For many expats, beef is the main course dish in dinners, as also in food served by employers in larger contracting companies. This is an addition to regular usage of beef in meals and burgers.
During the holy month, many Saudi individuals provide “kabsa” with beef to expatriate laborers through mosques, which will now cost them much more.
Many retailers, catering companies and restaurants in the Kingdom are having a tough time procuring beef. They are also worried about the high cost eating into their profits.
A Sudanese manager of a popular chain of restaurants told Arab News that the high beef price was a matter of concern. “I am willing to pay a high price for beef but the problem is that there are not enough quantities in the market when you need it most,” he said.
An Indian executive, who runs a catering company supplying food to over 2,000 employees in Rabigh, told Arab News on condition of anonymity that the high price of beef was indeed worrisome for catering companies involved in supplying food to contracting companies.
Alam Zaib Khan, an executive with a company dealing in in frozen products, said: “The market is volatile now with demand far outstripping supplies. With only two countries supplying beef, it is indeed a problem faced by many. Such is the demand for beef that I sold two containers of beef within 12 hours of its arrival in Jeddah.”
Interestingly, the increase in beef price has resulted in shawarma shops cutting down on the quantity of beef stuffing. That is indeed food for thought.

Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018

Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.