Fri 28 Feb 2020

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Red meat prices touch 4 US dollars per kilo

A herd of cows eating hay in cowshed on a dairy farm in the countryside of Homs - 20 November 2019 (SANA)

A herd of cows eating hay in cowshed on a dairy farm in the countryside of Homs - 20 November 2019 (SANA)

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Red meat prices in Syria have increased significantly, amid citizens’ questions about the reasons, although red meat is homegrown and not subject to the foreign exchange rate.

According to “Livestock Prices in Syria – Al-Ruhaibah Central Market” Facebook page, the price of lamb reached about 3,900 Syrian pounds (SYP – 3.8 USD) per kilo on 26 January, a difference of 50 SYP (0.048USD) from its price set on 25 January.

Furthermore, the price of veal amounts to 3000 SYP (2.8 USD).

The Head of the Animal Health Department in the Agricultural Directorate in Latakia, Ahmad Leila, pointed out that the high prices of veterinary medicines, fodder, fuel, and livestock-fattening drugs, as well as the high costs of livestock transport and workforce and livestock smuggling, have been the mains reasons for the rise in the price of red meat, according to al-Wahda Foundation for Press Printing Publishing and Distribution’s issue of 26 January.

Livestock smuggling

The report of the Economic Commission for the province of Damascus earlier referred to the considerable rise in the price of consumer goods after increasing salaries and wages by 50 percent.

The report attributed the reason for the high prices of meat to the “negative role” of the Customs Directorate in not controlling the movement of livestock from the city of Damascus to the northern and eastern regions in which livestock are smuggled under the pretext of fattening.

Red meat prices in Syria have seen a rise since the end of last year, coinciding with the festive season approaching, and with the local currency depreciating, amid government statements talking about smuggling livestock to some neighboring countries.

To Jordan

Some media reports have talked since 2014 about the smuggling of livestock from Syria to Jordan through illegal crossings, which was confirmed by Admon Qutaish, the head of the Butchers’ Association, to al-Iqtisadi —a local website focused on financial news—on 20 October 2019.

Qutaish said that nearly three thousand sheep are being smuggled daily out of Syria through the Nassib border crossing with Jordan.

Sheep, goats, ewe and other types of livestock were smuggled, which caused their high prices in Syria, according to Quteish.

Furthermore, Quteish indicated that the contractor involved in supplying meat to Syria had stopped working due to its high price, and its inconsistency with selling prices in the local market.

Two months ago, Imad Khamis, the head of the government of the Syrian regime said that the smuggling of food commodities in Syria to some neighboring countries created their soaring prices, without mentioning the destination of smuggling.

Smuggling under the cover of exportation

In April 2019, the Ministry of Economy allowed the export of Syrian sheep to the external market, which raised the citizens’ disapproval, amid high meat prices in the local market.

According to the livestock breeding law in Syria, it is strictly forbidden to export sheep completely during the birth period that takes place from the beginning of December to the end of March every year.

In the same context, a spike in food prices and red meat was seen in the markets of northeastern Syria in addition to news spread about smuggling livestock to Iraqi Kurdistan. Therefore, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria issued a decision on 16 January to prevent sheep exports to avoid the high prices and the loss of livestock in the local markets.

Despite several justifications of those engaged in smuggling basic commodities, including livestock, many citizens did not uphold their diverging arguments.

Moreover, they made accusations against some merchants who are manipulating the meat prices and increasing the prices of slaughtered livestock to capture a profit surplus.

According to the United Nations figures in Syria, approximately nine million people are at risk of food insecurity in Syria and need food assistance, and it is estimated that more than 83 percent of the population is below the poverty line.

The average salary in Syria is 94.77 USD (99,034 SYP at an exchange rate of 1045 SYP per dollar), according to the site “Numbeo”, which specializes in statistics.

A chart prepared by Enab Baladi shows that meat prices in Syria have changed since the beginning of this year until 26 January.

 

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