Cattle market shows impact of Nitaqat

Updated 08 November 2013

Cattle market shows impact of Nitaqat

The impact of the Nitaqat campaign on the sheep and goat markets is perceptible this year, as residents across the Kingdom prepare for the ritual of sacrifice on Eid Al-Adha. Sudanese expatriates, who used to dominate the sheep markets in the Kingdom, are conspicuous by their absence this year following the amnesty.
Prices of sheep and lamb usually soar with the high demand at this time of the year, but thanks to the liberal import of sheep and huge subsidies for fodder, this year seems to have had a sobering effect on the markets. Prices have increased but not to the extent it was feared.
The origin and variety of sheep plays a very important role in determining the price, which differs from region to region. While the prices tend to fluctuate on a daily basis in the run-up to Eid, it peaks in the last couple of days and is expected to remain high till Tuesday.
Sheep markets across the Kingdom from Hafar Al-Bateen in the east to Taif in the west are traditionally dominated by Sudanese expatriates, but expatriates are not allowed to indulge in the trade of sheep. Many Sudanese and other expatriates have left from the Kingdom, another contributory factor for price fluctuation.
An Arab News reporter, on a visit to the old sheep market in eastern suburb of Jeddah, found very few Sudanese in sales, with Saudis filling up the gap. Ali Mohammed Awad, a Sudanese shepherd, told Arab News: “Last year, I was selling sheep but now I am only selling bundles of grass for SR10 to customers who are buying sheep.” The number of young Sudanese expats who used to grab butcher’s jobs for SR100 in the sheep markets has also gone down.
A leading importer and trader of sheep, Fahd Al-Sulaimi, who is also vice chairman of sheep sub-committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that “prices very stable and affordable.”
Citizens and expatriates perform the faithful rite of animal sacrifice on the eve of Eid Al-Adha according to their choice, tradition and financial position. The choice of animal sacrifice varies from citizens to expatriates. The price of local breed sheep that Saudi nationals prefer is high compared to imported African sheep which is preferred by the expats.
The white-skinned Harri breed of sheep is the most popular among Saudis in Jeddah and large parts of Western region, and it fetches SR1,800 to SR2,000. Last year, it was being sold at SR1,500 to SR1,800.
The Najdi breed, which is generally raised in Riyadh and Central Province, is considered a superior breed and it costs between SR2,200 and SR2,500. Nuaimi, sold in fewer numbers in Jeddah, costs SR2,000 to SR2,200.
The gray-skinned Sawakin, named after the Red Sea port in Sudan, is another popular breed in the Kingdom after the local breeds. Weighing less and with low fat, it is mostly preferred by expatriate communities in the Kingdom because of the taste and price factors. Last year, Sawakin was priced at SR1,200, but this year, it has touched SR1,500.
The Somalia breed is being sold at around SR700 to SR800, the same as last year. This breed is generally the preferred choice of Indian and Pakistani communities due to its low fat and price factor. The meat of the African breed can be stored or frozen for longer periods of time which can’t be done in the case of local breeds. Barbari from Australia is also widely available.

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

Updated 19 April 2018

Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!


What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.