Eid sales peak in Turkey despite hike in livestock cost

Eid sales peak in Turkey despite hike in livestock cost

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Eid sales peak in Turkey despite hike in livestock cost

AA Photo

A major Islamic holiday is coming up and Turkey’s biggest city is now home to hundreds of thousands of cows and sheep from all over the country to be bought and sold.

Beginning Sept. 24, Muslims will celebrate the four-day Eid al-Adha, also known as the “Feast of the Sacrifice,” which celebrates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God.

Apparently, Eid al-Adha is not only a holy period for Muslims, it is also the largest opportunity during the year for livestock breeders to do some business - and the livestock market in Istanbul’s Bayrampaşa district is again jam-packed, despite price-hike claims.

However, although a number of traders have denied driving up prices, most of the sellers have confirmed that current prices are high compared to last year’s rates.

“Livestock prices were expected to remain the same as last year but increasing terror incidents and the rise in animal feed prices have driven up the animals’ cost,” Yunus Çoktin, a 60-year-old breeder, told Anadolu Agency.

Çoktin, a shepherd and dealer for nearly four decades, said they started to celebrate Eid three weeks ago.
“Eid al-Adha always starts earlier for the dealers. I came to Istanbul from Erzurum [over 1,000 kilometers away] on Aug. 20 and have sold 10 sheep and four cattle so far. But each customer complains about the prices,” Çoktin said.

According to Çoktin, the kilogram price of livestock was 13-14 Turkish liras (around $4-5) in 2014 but it is up to 17-18 (approx. $5.5-6) liras this year. “But we should not skip the terror factor, as many people were not able to bring their animals to the big cities like Istanbul and İzmir,” he said.

Husbandry is one of the main economic activities in Turkey’s east and southeastern Anatolia regions.

However, following a suicide bomb attack in July - blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) - in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa that killed over 30 people, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has renewed its armed campaign against Turkish forces, especially in southern and eastern provinces.

“People are afraid of traveling with their animals. So, the number of livestock has naturally decreased in big cities,” Çoktin said.

Supporting Çoktin, 55-year-old dealer Mehmet Karadeniz said the rising prices were all about supply and demand.

“The demand for sacrificial animals in this Eid is more than the supply. Not only the terror but also the huge number of animals which could not pass health checks has affected the number.

“The prices are up because supply cannot meet the demand,” Karadeniz added.

According to the Turkish Agriculture and Livestock Ministry, almost five million head of livestock, including 1.2 million cattle and 3.8 million sheep and goats, were ready to be sacrificed.

The Union of Turkish Chambers of Agriculture (TZOB) says the price of sheep were between 400-1,400 liras (approx. $132-462) while cattle prices were between 2,000-14,000 liras (approx. $660-4,620), depending on weight, size and location.

According to one customer, the sacrificial animal prices also varied.