The prices of livestock over the past few days have been steadily rising across the Kingdom as consumers try to offset costs ahead of Ramadan.
In Jeddah’s livestock market, Naimi sheep are currently priced at between SR 1,400 and SR 1,600. Najdi sheep go for between SR 1,800 and SR 2,000 and goats from SR 1,000 and up. In Riyadh’s livestock market, prices are a bit more moderate with Naimi priced at between SR 1,300 and SR 1,500, Najdi at SR 1,400 to SR 1,600, and goats between SR 900 to SR 1,300.
“The increase in prices are due to seasonal factors such as a higher demand for sheep to prepare meals for an increased number of weddings, family gatherings and parties. Ramadan is again occurring in the summer months, which puts an even higher demand on the supply of livestock,” said Mushari Abu Khaled, an owner of a stall in Jeddah’s livestock market.
Still others say the price increases have nothing to do with a rising demand for sheep, but fodder prices that have been rising over the past year.
“Prices of barley and alfalfa, which is the prime food staple of sheep, has increased due to a lack of rainfall, causing a cost increase for livestock owners which reflects higher sale prices on livestock,” said Mufleh BaOthman, another livestock owner in Jeddah.
Traders have been increasing prices on other food staples such as fruit and vegetables, dry milk and other items to take advantage of tourists to the major cities and the advent of Ramadan, expected to begin around July 9.
This is despite a stern warning that Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Abdul Aziz Al- Sheikh gave on Friday, asking traders to refrain from raising prices during the holy month of Ramadan, especially when the Kingdom does not impose taxes and offers free trade.
“It is wrong for traders to raise prices before Ramadan without any reason,” he said, adding that traders should not take advantage of opportunities in times like these.