ABU DHABI // For market traders and farmers this weekend is the busiest of the year, as families rush to the market to prepare for Eid Al Fitr. Sellers say huge purchases of meat should keep prices steady, although there may be a small hike when lamb consumption shoots up.
With Eid expected to fall on Sunday, many visitors descended on the bustling Mina Animal Market.
“I think prices of animals at the market have gone up by Dh50 per head.
“That may jump up by Dh100 on Eid,” Ahmed Hassan said.
The Omani had set out to buy a lamb but was not happy with the quality nor the prices of the animals for sale.
“The lambs and sheep available in the market are not from good breeds. The meat doesn’t taste good,” Mr Hassan said.
Kashmiri sheep from India and lambs bred in Ras Al Khaimah were most popular at this time of year, he said.
“Today I bought a small, eight-kilogramme najdi lamb for Dh600,” he said.
“I would say the price of animals is OK currently, but the quality of animals is not good. People love Iranian jaziri lambs but they have not come to UAE markets for years now.”
Market traders said a price rise of up to Dh50 was generally considered part of the bargaining process and not a real increase, especially at Eid.
“Dh10-Dh20 is bargained. We don’t consider it an increase in price. It’s nothing,” said Daulat Khan, from Mohammed Salem Mohammed Livestock.
“Prices are not high nowadays. A Kashmiri lamb is sold at Dh500 for 17kg, Indian lamb is priced at Dh550 for 12kg and Indian sheep is traded between Dh500 and Dh550 for about 17kg to 18kg.
“But there is no shortage in the market.
“The market is going to remain the same during Eid. Although there may be a slight rise of Dh10 to Dh20 per head on the day of Eid,” Mr Khan said.
Locally bred naeemi and najdi sheep are being sold for between Dh800 and Dh900 for specimens weighing between 17kg and 18kg .
“This is a little higher because it comes from local markets and is loved by the local people,” Mr Khan said.
Saif Al Malouk, a Pakistani who works for Florida Trading Establishment, said customers generally do not like Indian sheep but buy them when nothing else is available.
“Smaller Kashmiri sheep can be bought at Dh400 or Dh450 for 14kg,” he said, but that no more Indian lambs were expected to be shipped to the UAE because of the hot weather.
“They stopped from June 5 and will begin after three months when cooler days come back,” Mr Al Malouk said.
Shortages of Somali goats and sheep at the market, and jaziri lambs – all popular purchases – were also a cause for complaint by customers.
Municipality slaughterhouses in the capital processed more than 25,000 carcasses during the first week of Ramadan.