Thursday, September 17, 2015

Buying a Sheep for Eid - All You Need to Know

A question that gets asked every year is "are there enough sheep for sacrifice during Eid?" This year the answer is a resounding "yes!".  According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Morocco's supply of sheep and goats "largely covers demand." According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there are some 8.8 million sheep available

"The sheep and goat population for Eid is estimated at almost 8.8 million head, of which 5 million are rams and 3.8 million ewes and lambs," said the Ministry of Agriculture, noting that demand is estimated at 5.30 million head, of which 4.80 million are sheep and 520,000 goats.

Choosing your sheep

The prime requisite is that the sheep is healthy. Next, is the size, and if you are expecting guests to drop in, then a large sheep is what you need. Moroccans traditionally plan to give large amounts away to poorer families as sadaka - charitable giving.

"Four (defects) make the sacrifice is not accepted: the conspicuously blind beast, the obviously sick beast, the lame and the obviously far too lean beast that can not recover. "(At-Tirmidhi.)

The National Health Security Office of Food Products (ONSSA) reports that the health of the national herd, especially that of sheep and goats, is satisfactory in all regions of the Kingdom. Due to favourable climatic conditions, the 2014-2015 growing season was characterised by large availability of livestock feed.

The market supply is in good condition thanks to the support enjoyed by the livestock sector as part of the Morocco's Green Plan. The sector saw improved animal performance compared to last year, with a lambing rate of 92% against 80% last year and reduced mortality of 3% against 5% the 'previous year.

The Agricultural Department will closely monitor the supply in the various markets to watch closely over the health of animals sold at supermarkets, rural souks and major outlets in cities.

The Sardi

The Sardi, an iconic and symbolic Moroccan breed, is the most popular sheep for Eid.

It is easily recognisable with its white body with black patches around the eyes, over the ears and the ends of the legs. This phenotype explains why it is known as "the sheep with glasses." The male has well-developed horns a weight ranging from 70 to 100 kg and in the female 45 to 60 kg. Adult size varies from 80-90 cm in males and 55-65 cm in females.

The birthplace of Sardi is located in the provinces of Settat and Kelaâ of Sraghnas with a geographical area extending over the Oum Er-Rbia River basin, Tea Beni Meskine or Sraghnas and Rhamna.

And the cost?

The price of sheep this year appears to have increased since last Eid. While anecdotal tales of medium and small size sheep being sold for between 1000 Dh and 1500 Dh abound, a recent trip to a country souk found the prices between 2500 and 3500Dh.

Online sales show some prices as high as 6500 Dh. Buying sheep online is usu

Providing livestock for Eid Al Adha is the annual opportunity to improve the cash flow of farmers for whom the breeding of small animals is their main source of income. This is particularly true in the vast rangelands which cover about 70% of the country's area.

In financial terms the revenue of transactions of animals for slaughter during Eid Al Adha should reach a turnover exceeding 10 billion dirhams, of which much will be transferred to rural areas, enabling farmers to defray the expenses of other agricultural activities, especially during this time of the launch of the 2015-2016 crop year. These funds will help boost overall economic activity in rural areas.

Sheep from Tineghir heading to the souk

For those in Fez who have still not purchased a sheep, the best bargains should be had at the large sheep souk at Bendebab this Saturday. Even if you are not in the market for a little mutton, the souk is a great experience and worth a visit.

And it is important to remember that if you buy a sheep, you still have to get it home!

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