the price of mutton is pushing many households to give it up

the price of mutton is pushing many households to give it up

The high cost of sheep in Morocco, at the origin of the hashtag cancellation of Eid Al-Adha, continues to be debated. Indeed, the celebration of this ritual risks being compromised for many households in Morocco due to the vertiginous rise in the price of sheep which, at the very least, within a fortnight, fluctuate between 20 and 40% compared to the same period last year.

Much more than the forecasts of the Ministry of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests which indicated very recently that the price of sheep should only increase by 15 to 25% compared to the previous year with regard to internal and external conditions.

And even if the Executive wanted to be reassuring about a possible ban on Eid Al-Adha before the legislature, on May 9 when the head of government assured that there was no question of canceling the celebrations of Eid, and that the government was working to regulate prices so as not to harm the population, many Moroccans will not dare to take the plunge this year.

Which logically agrees with an inflation that easily carries 10%. The Moroccan economy has indeed been plunged for several months into an unparalleled crisis which is hitting the most fragile layers of the population hard. In this context, the prices of livestock intended for sacrifice have increased due to the drought that has gone through and that the Kingdom is going through and which is impacting the agricultural sector and, in terms of livestock, the rise in the price of animal feed. In this scenario, the most precarious Moroccan households no longer find themselves there and suffer a decline in their purchasing power as never before.

However, this ritual of sacrifice cannot be canceled at least officially as already 3 times previously in the last century (1963, 1981 and 1996), and this for similar reasons. The Executive to mitigate the soaring prices had taken the initiative to increase the national supply of sheep with the import of one million heads (Spain, Italy and Romania) to reach 6.5 million animals. The demand being estimated at 5.5 million head, in vain, it seems. Because indeed, the high cost of sheep intended for sacrifice is indeed there in view of a campaign with the hashtag “cancellation of Eid Al-Adha” which is in full swing.

This rise in the price of sheep and goats is the consequence of an amalgam of crises. For breeders, the year has been one of the most difficult. There is this severe drought that hits the Kingdom. The year 2022 has been the hottest on record in Morocco for at least 40 years, while the current agricultural season is recording a rainfall deficit of almost half the normal annual level (46%). Also, and as mentioned above, breeders are faced with rising cattle feed prices, as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, and have to endure galloping inflation which has never known such values ​​in the Kingdom as it does today.

Also at the end of a very full-bodied month of Ramadan for the housewife’s basket, Moroccans are seriously thinking of giving up, at the end of June, Eid Al-Adha. Those who nevertheless wish to make this sacrifice will have to pay a high price, which is at least a quarter of that of last year. Knowing in this that with soaring food prices (+16.8% according to the HCP), this crisis questions the viability of the Moroccan agricultural model which is a key sector of the economy (13% of GDP). The government had attributed these anarchic increases to fraud, monopolistic practices, speculation and “price manipulation”.

The ensuing discontent was expressed through rallies, admittedly limited in scale, but which nonetheless did not make citizens angry. That said, in Morocco households will have at the beginning of the summer period which coincides with Eid Al Adha to choose between sacrificing the animal or going on vacation. In other words, the price to be “sacrificed” for the sacrifice of the sheep or other stupid rave could weaken the situation of the households, which will not only pay the money for the sheep, but also suffer the repercussions in view of what this assumes, as collateral costs.
It’s not just the price of the beast that comes into consideration (travel and transport costs in addition to family stays where the expenses can no longer be counted, etc.). This state of affairs should weigh on the vacation plan. But it is thus each time that the basket of the Moroccan housewife is weakened by any conjuncture. Hence the eternal existential questioning of the most Shakespearians in our souks, “Aïd Al-Adha or not that’s the question! »


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