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Drought pushes up sheep price for Eid in Morocco

Arid conditions brought about by the drought in Morocco are affecting the cost of sheep Karolina Webb/Alamy via Reuters
Arid conditions brought about by the drought in Morocco are affecting the cost of sheep
  • Sheep price 10 times inflation
  • Cost of grain has risen sharply

The price for a sheep in Morocco for the annual sacrifice at Eid al-Adha has increased on average at 10 times the 2.2 percent rate of inflation.

A medium-sized female sheep costs MAD4000 ($400) as opposed to MAD3000 last year. This puts it out of range for many families in the country where a high school teacher earns an average of MAD5000 per month.

Farmers have blamed the devastating drought that has afflicted the country for the past six years, the high price of imported fertiliser for home-grown grain and the price rise in imported grain following the Ukraine war



There has also been a decrease in herd sizes due to the drought, according to Mohamed Sadiki, the minister of agriculture. 

Sheep numbers have reduced by 2 percent, amounting to around 20 million, while goat numbers have gone down by 4 percent, totalling just over five million.

“During Eid, the livestock market can become unpredictable due to the presence of mediators who buy from farmers at lower prices and sell at higher rates,” Adnane Bennis, managing editor of Morocco World News, told AGBI. “This practice exacerbates the price inflation,” he said.

Southern Spain is a case in point and is exporting sheep through Tangier. Typically, they are retailing at between MAD1800 and MAD3000, making them significantly cheaper. 

The Spanish have been taking advantage of a MAD500 per head subsidy for the import of Eid sheep, in place until June 15, plus the exemption of import duties and value added tax.

Moroccans have been quick to express their dismay at the rise in prices. They say they will not buy the animals at their current prices in a sign of solidarity with the needy. 

“The sellers are greedy,” said Ikram, a teacher. “They are exploiting the poor people. But you can’t put a price on God’s will.”

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