• Cairo

  • Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 5:15 AM
    Last Update : Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 5:15 AM

A moderate demand in Egypt for Eid al-Adha Sacrificial Meat Despite Soaring Prices

(AWP) - Egyptians have not been deterred from visiting butcher shops and livestock markets to buy sacrificial animals and meat for the upcoming Eid al-Adha, despite the recent significant increase in prices.

The Arab world’s most populous country is going through deteriorating economic conditions, high inflation rates and a decline in purchasing power, but markets are still witnessing a moderate demand for Eid meat.

Financially well-off Muslims buy sheep and meat to feed the poor during Eid al-Adha [‘Feast of Sacrifice’], in reference to Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Prophet Ismail, according to the Muslim faith.

In an attempt to alleviate the financial burden on citizens, the Egyptian government announced the provision of refrigerated and frozen meat for sale at designated consumer outlets that offer lower prices than the usual market rates.

Despite the increased activity in meat sales ahead of next week’s Eid compared to other periods of inflation, traders complain of a decline due to the soaring sheep prices.

Abdul Basit al-Baqali, owner of a butcher shop, said, “People are turning towards sharing cattle because this is better for them since sheep are expensive. Everyone is now focusing on cattle shares.”

He explained, “The percentage of people sharing cattle has grown this year compared to other years because today, a share of a cow might cost 10,000 Egyptian pounds and some people prefer beef over lamb.”

In recent years, many Egyptians have resorted to buying meat “sacrificial vouchers” [or sukuk] offered by charity organisations, which are cheaper and even allow the option of instalment payments.

Sacrificial meat vouchers allow organisations selling them to buy wholesale quantities of meat, and to feed the needy on behalf of the voucher holders.

Nonetheless, these types of instruments have also increased in price, reaching around 10,000 Egyptian pounds for a voucher to share a calf and 11,000 pounds for a sheep.

Azza Kamal, an Egyptian customer, said while at a butcher shop, “This year, we did not buy a sheep due to the increased prices. I decided to buy some meat instead. I can’t buy a sacrificial voucher like I did last year.”

Others had saved enough to buy a sheep for Eid al-Adha, albeit having to purchase a smaller one than in previous years.

One such customer, Ebadah, said, “It is a bit expensive, but every year I put this money aside to buy a sheep. I can buy a smaller sheep if I don’t have enough money, but I would still buy one. So instead of a 60-kilogram sheep, I’ll buy a 55 or 50-kilogram one.”

(One US dollar = 47.56 Egyptian pounds)