By Osman Heshri.
Tripoli, 14 October:
The ordinary Libyan citizen, at this time of year, is going through the dilemma of trying to . . .[restrict]find an adequate sheep to offer as a sacrifice, especially since sheep breeders throughout the country have reported a remarkable increase in sheep prices since last year.
Today, the cost of an average local lamb ranges between 300 and 800 dinars, whilst as an average lamb imported from Cyprus, Spain or Bulgaria ranges between 350 and 750 dinar.
Sheep traders and ranchers at the Suk-Alahad (Sunday Market), who handle the sales of sheep and cattle in Libya generally maintain that the increase in cost has derived from a number of factors, including high feed prices as well as a current shortage of supply.
Sheep breeders have said that livestock was severely affected during the Libyan revolution, with water shortages recent clashes in and around pastoral areas also taking their toll. It is reported that sheep prices are not much different in the eastern Libyan regions.
In the cattle market, prices are also very high compared with last year, with prices gradually increasing as Eid approaches.
One citizen spoken to by the Libya Herald said that the price of his sacrificial sheep, 500 dinars, equated to his total monthly salary, pointing out that there were many other Eid costs still to be met.
Cattle traders have also complained that high prices have adversely impacted on sales, with customer turnout said to be very low.
Likewise, the unexpectedly – some would say extortionately – high prices of sheep are simply not compatible with the limited salary of the ordinary Libyan citizen.
In order to compensate for the shortage in the local sheep market, many animals have been imported for sacrifice from the surrounding region, including Europe, although Libyans generally say they prefer local sacrifices.
On the street, people are angry at the situation, and critical of the government for its failure to take the measures needed to curb rising prices.
The National Congress’s decision to give every family 1,000 dinars to help cover the cost of Eid has also met with mixed reviews. Some say the the delayed time it will take to process the payments, at least two months, will mean the money will come too late.
Others see it as little more than a bribe, and one that could adversely impact on prices at the sheep market at that. [/restrict]