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Sudanese Embrace Eid al-Adha with Soaring Livestock Price Due to War


KHARTOUM, Xinhua: For the second year, the Sudanese welcome the Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, without the usual joy of celebration, as the traditional rituals are becoming unaffordable during the civil war killing thousands, displacing millions, and collapsing the economy.

According to Islamic traditions, Muslim families buy cattle, usually a goat or sheep, as a sacrifice in the early morning of Eid al-Adha and distribute the meat to the poor as a charity gift.

Sudan, however, is currently faced with a great hike in the prices of livestock due to the national currency depreciation amid the war, making the sacrifice of sheep unaffordable for locals.

In a local market near Khartoum, the prices of sheep ranged between 500,000 and 800,000 Sudanese pounds, about 260 to 420 U.S. dollars under the exchange rate of the parallel market.

Meanwhile, Jibril Mohamed Bashir, a livestock seller, attributed the high prices to the difficulty of transporting livestock from production areas in western and central Sudan to the Sudanese capital.

“The high cost of transportation has significantly affected the prices of sheep coming from production areas,” Bashir told Xinhua, adding the low production of fodder is also a reason for the rising livestock prices.

Ritual of Sacrifice

Sudanese are known for their adherence to the ritual of sacrifice for both religious and social reasons, where a majority of people are keen to buy sacrifice sheep regardless of the price.

Previously, there had been government and popular initiatives that provided sacrifice sheep for the citizens at reasonable prices. However, such initiatives, together with unified markets that sell sheep at affordable prices, disappeared this year due to the ongoing war.

At a livestock market in Al-Dabbah city in the Northern State, the prices of sheep stand at 400,000 to 600,000 Sudanese pounds.

The price is “unjustified,” Hamid Abdullah, a local resident, told Xinhua. “Last year, the prices were around 100,000 pounds for an average sheep.”

Suleiman Hamid, a displaced citizen who currently lives in Port Sudan, said buying a sacrificed sheep at a price of 500,000 pounds was “illogical.”

“We’ve lost our jobs due to the war and depended on financial assistance from our relatives abroad,” Hamid told Xinhua.

According to the United Nations, half of Sudan’s population — some 25 million people — need humanitarian assistance and protection, with nearly 18 million people facing acute food insecurity.

Sudan has been witnessing deadly clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces since April 15, 2023, which have so far claimed more than 15,550 lives and displaced over 8.8 million people nationwide, according to recent estimates by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.