Shafiq CAIRO (Xinhua) -- The livestock markets in
Egypt witnessed a recession ahead of Eid al-Adha, or the Islamic
“Festival of Sacrifice,” because of hikes in animal prices and
worsening economic conditions.
“This season, fewer people are
approaching markets to buy sacrificial animals,” livestock
vendor Ahmed Fathy said as he fed a sheep in a livestock market
in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
The young man said customers visit the
market but few of them buy animals, attributing it to the high
prices of cattle as well as the deteriorating living conditions
of many Egyptians.
“Last year was way better. I almost
sold all my animals. However, this year I have not even sold
half of them,” Fathy said while looking around to search for
Eid al-Adha is celebrated by Muslims
worldwide once a year in memory of Prophet Abraham’s
near-sacrifice of his own son as ordered by God.
The holiday is marked at the end of
the pilgrimage rituals in Saudi Arabia when Muslims slaughter
sacrificial animals in hope of getting closer to God.
The frustrating economic conditions as
well as high poverty rates led livestock traders to make
unprecedented offers in order to sell their animals.
“I have an installment payment system
for people I trust. Buyers can pay half of the price and pay the
rest on the monthly basis upon an agreement,” Fathy added.
Meanwhile, Egyptians are forced to
pool funds to buy a sacrificial animal, and then share it
between five to eight persons.
Egypt has been suffering economic
recessions over the past few years because of political
instability and security challenges.
Since late 2016, Egypt has been going
through a strict three-year economic reform program, starting
with local currency floatation to contain U.S. dollar shortage
followed by austerity measures, energy subsidy cuts and tax
The liberalization of the Egyptian
pound encouraged the International Monetary Fund to support
Egypt’s economic reform plan with a 12-billion-dollar loan, two
thirds of which have already been delivered to the North African
Not far away from Fathy, Moahmmed
Hany, an Egyptian engineer in his 30s, was bargaining with
another livestock vendor over the price of a sheep.
“The prices of sacrificial animals are
really high this year,” Hany told Xinhua.
He spent more than one hour in the
market searching for a cheap sheep and finally found a small
“But it is still more expensive than I
expected,” he lamented.
The young engineer said he used to
slaughter a cow or a camel in previous years, “but the price
hikes of all commodities forced me to buy cheaper animal for the
The price of one kg of a calf ranges
between 50-55 Egyptian pounds (2.79-3.07 U.S. dollars), while
the price of one kg of sheep stands at 65 pounds, Hany
“So, buying a sheep is more convenient
for me ... I want to keep the habit to slaughter a sacrifice in
the feast,” he said.