Livestock trade ahead of Eid El Adha under pressure as Sudan war continues

Sheep in El Fasher market, 2019 (File photo: SUNA


The continuation of the war between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has had a significant impact on the trade and export of livestock, which are particularly important in the weeks ahead of the Eid Al Adha (the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice) that will begin tomorrow. Sudanese markets are witnessing shortages and a significant rise in the prices of sacrificial animals.

Markets across the country are witnessing a noticeable recession and a rise in the prices of sacrificial animals combined with a weak demand as most of the people have not received their salaries or found enough work to even cover their daily needs.

The fighting and security problems have also caused significant supply issues.

The El Fasher South market in the North Darfur capital is out of livestock due to the repeated armed robberies on the Shangil Tobaya-Abu Zureiga road.

Mohamed Sabab, one of the traders at the El Fasher South Livestock Market, told Radio Dabanga that sales were “almost non-existent” because of the war. “The market is completely empty of livestock because all animals have been stolen on the Shangil Tobaya-Abu Zereiga road.”

‘The market is completely empty of livestock because all animals have been stolen’

Radio Dabanga’s North Darfur correspondent said that there is also a major stagnation in the sale of the available sheep in El Fasher because of the low purchase power as many workers’ salaries have not been paid and the prices of sheep have increased so much.

The price of a sheep at the market ranges between SDG 60,000 to SDG 130,000.

An elderly woman at the market asked whether there will be an Eid El Adha at all this year. “From where do we get meat? The people are looking for affordable food and drink everywhere whilst the wheel of life has stopped.”

Similar stories can be heard in other markets.

Abakar Ibrahim, a livestock trader at the Sim El Jarad Market, told Radio Dabanga that the war, the fact that salaries have not been paid, the theft of many heads of livestock, and the displacement of people from Kutum and Tawila led to the stagnation of sales and the high prices.

The Sim El Jarad Market in the eastern part of El Fasher is under the control of the RSF, which caused fears among traders that they would not be allowed to sell their livestock at the market.

Ibrahim said that livestock traders now have to pay “protection fees” of SDG 5,000 per sheep to the RSF.

Traders in Ed Damazin, capital of Blue Nile state, told Radio Dabanga that there is little demand for goods that are usually always bought new for the Eid El Adha celebrations, especially clothes and shoes.

“The delay in the payment of salaries of the past three months has significantly affected the buying and selling in the market.”

The prices of sheep in Ed Damazin currently range from SDG 55,000 to SDG 150,000, as in most places in Sudan, Radio Dabanga learned from a survey among livestock traders in the country.

Price rises abroad
The situation in Sudan is not only affecting prices within Sudan. The spokesperson for the municipality of Kufra at the Libyan-Sudanese border, Abdallah Suleiman, explained that the events in Sudan caused a rise in the prices of sheep in Libya.

‘The prices of sheep now range between 800 and 1800 Libyan Dinar’

“The prices of sheep now range between 800 and 1800 Dinar,” he said. “We are dependent on Sudanese livestock, as animals from elsewhere that pass through Libyan ports are not sent to Kufra or to other Libyan cities further from the coast.”

Export to Saudi Arabia

Not only the livestock trade in North Darfur is affected by security issues. Abdallah Bereik, a member of the Suakin Port Livestock Export Department in Red Sea state, said that livestock coming from western Sudan has seen a significant decline due to the deteriorating security situation on the road.

He told Radio Dabanga that the cost of transporting livestock from Darfur and Kordofan is high and that the theft of cows and sheep on the road is affecting exports further.

Some Sudanese cattle is still exported from Suakin to Saudi Arabia for commercial purposes, he confirmed.

Saudi Arabia, however, has now also resorted to the Somali market because of the high prices of livestock in Sudan.

The director of the Suakin port corrals, Omar El Tijani, confirmed that nearly 850,000 heads of livestock have been exported to Saudi Arabia since the outbreak of the war on April 1.

The exported livestock included 800,000 sheep, 25,000 goats, and more than 20,000 camels. El Tijani said that the last two vessels had left the port on Saturday.

A laboratory in Kassala has been rehabilitated to conduct tests on the animals after the Khartoum laboratories went out of service because of the fighting.

El Tijani said that the revenues from livestock exports amount to more than US$ 100 million but stressed that the workers have not been paid their salaries for the last three months.

Export to Egypt

Omar Awad, director of the Meat Department at the Egyptian Sudanese Development Company, explained that the number of livestock exported from Sudan to Egypt through the River Nile has actually increased since the beginning of the war.

25,000 heads of livestock have been ordered by the Egyptian-Sudanese company in preparation for Eid Al Adha on Thursday.

In a press statement yesterday, Awad said that 10 barges arrived at the Abu Simbel port in Egypt in the past few days. It is expected that the rate of shipments will rise to reach 5,000 heads of livestock per day in the coming days.