Searing heat and soaring prices at livestock markets in Kuwait

By Shakir Reshamwala
KUWAIT: With Eid Al-Adha around the corner, livestock markets around the country are becoming a hive of activity. But prices are high, with a head of sheep selling for over KD 100. As the scorching heat slightly cools in the evening, the markets get busier with customers, with vendors calling out to the faithful to buy their sacrificial animals. A vendor at the livestock market in Rai said business has been picking up despite the relatively expensive prices, which usually rise during Eid Al-Adha.
Most sheep at livestock markets are the so-called Arabian variety, including Nuaimi, Shefali and other breeds, mostly from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Jordan and Syria. These are priced between KD 100 and KD 200. However, those not particular about their sacrificial animal being a ram can buy ewes, which are priced lower — between KD 70 and KD 100. Goats are available too, with diminutive Somali goats selling for KD 70, while larger goats raised in Kuwait are priced between KD 100 and KD 140. Goats are preferred by buyers from South Asia, where lamb is not widely consumed.

Those looking for still cheaper options can opt for Australian sheep, which are only available at slaughterhouses. Prebooking must be made, and the animal will be slaughtered, packed in a carton and handed to the customer on the day of Eid, all for KD 65. A major supermarket in Kuwait is also offering ovines to bovines for slaughter, ranging from KD 59 to KD 545, delivered a day after Eid. Buyers can avoid the heat and crowds of livestock markets and order animals online, sold by multiple vendors, or for a fraction of the cost but still fulfilling their religious obligations, task a charity to slaughter an animal abroad with the meat to be distributed among the needy.
According to a KUNA report, the high prices of sheep are due to high breeding costs, especially feed prices. Abdullah Al-Shemmari, a sheep merchant, said there is high demand for Kuwaiti and Saudi sheep despite their high prices. But he added local cattle cannot cover the needs of the market, forcing traders to import animals from abroad. Saud Saad, a Kuwaiti, told KUNA he prefers locally raised sheep regardless of the price due to its delicious taste, especially for sacrifice on Eid Al-Adha.

Another citizen, Bader Al-Otaibi, said his family always buys Kuwaiti or Saudi sheep due to their high-quality meat. Ahmad Al-Rasheedi, a livestock merchant, said people should have the ability to recognize local sheep to avoid being cheated, since some unscrupulous traders pass off imported sheep as local animals. He said local sheep always have a big head and soft coat of wool.

The post Searing heat and soaring prices at livestock markets in Kuwait appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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