Eid Al-Adha [the feast of the sacrifice] is fast approaching and as always, commodity prices are rising, especially those of sheep. The Kuwait Times yesterday visited the Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Sheep Market, where many vendors and customers commented on the price increases. "The prices are increasing almost every two days," said one livestock vendor. Indicating an Iranian sheep weighing 15 to 20 kg, he explained, "Like this one, last week it cost KD 50 only. Today it costs KD 60. Maybe by tomorrow, t
he same sheep will cost around KD 70. Prices may shoot up to KD 100 or more during the day before Eid.
Another vendor, this one a Bangladeshi expatriate, was selling a variety of locally reared sheep for KD 200 each, although these were larger in size than the usual Kuwaiti sheep, which are traditionally more expensive than the imported breeds. "Kuwaiti sheep are sold for between KD 100 and 200, depending on the size. Probably, it will increase during the day before Eid Al-Adha," another vendor stated.
According to this vendor, the reasons behind the price increases vary but the most common one is the standard market fluctuations governed by supply and demand. "The demand for Kuwaiti sheep is higher than imported breeds, but amongst other reasons, Kuwaitis prefer to buy local sheep because the meat's tender and tastier than imported ones," the vendor explained.
Kuwaiti sheep are fed plants that are native to Kuwait. However, finding sufficient grazing and fodder for the sheep in an arid, desert country like Kuwait is always a problem. As well as being rarer in number, vendors in locally reared sheep also face other problems like government restrictions on livestock grazing in areas where there is vegetation.
Before we could use the Rawdatain and Subiyya areas for grazing our sheep," said one vendor. "But that was closed by the government and they allocated a place west of Abdali road to obtain food for our sheep. That area has less vegetation. So we had to divert attention to do other businesses instead.
In fact, some vendors admitted that there could be shortages of local sheep as Eid Al-Adha approaches, although there will be plentiful supply of imported sheep. Australian Sheep are considered to be the cheapest, and are available for sale at Jleeb market for anything between KD 45 and 70. "We have a sufficient supply of imported sheep and it will be more than enough for all," a vendor asserted. "A kilogram of lamb from Australia is also cheap, you can get it for KD 1.5 while the local sheep cost KD 2.5.
Since last week, customers are increasingly thronging the venue to obtain sheep for the upcoming feast of the sacrifice. "Many are taking advantage of the cheaper price at this time," the vendor added. "I am afraid it will double or even triple the price on the eve of Eid. So it is always advisable for everyone to start buying sheep as early as this possible.