Celebrating the feast

Amira Hisham, Sunday 16 Jun 2024

People are resorting to different ways to donate meat to the needy despite economic difficulties, especially during the feast.

Celebrating the feast

 

Meat is a fixture in Eid Al-Adha, beginning this year on 16 June, with families celebrating the feast by preparing dishes containing different types of meat, or slaughtering livestock and distributing its meat to relatives and the less fortunate.

However, the economic crunch, dealing a heavy blow year after year, is affecting the ability of families to buy meat at the same quantities — or to buy it at all.

This year, Ministry of Supply outlets are selling meat for LE335 per kilo for baladi (local) meat and LE280 a kilo for Sudanese meat, up from LE195 a kilo last year. Meanwhile, the average price of local meat at butcher shops is LE400 per kilo.

Fathi, a butcher in Zaytoun, told Al-Ahram Weekly: “Less and less people are buying meat. In previous seasons, we used to slaughter two cows a day but now we slaughter one cow every three days.”

Fathi noted that the price of meat has increased by LE100 since last year and that the cost per kilo varies depending on the cut. People tend to buy minced meat because it is the cheapest, and meat products such as kofta, burgers, and sausages are also popular, he added.

He pointed out that only a very limited number of people have decided to slaughter animals this year, fewer than last year.

Said Zaghloul, a member of the Butchers Division of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Giza, confirmed that demand for meat has grown weaker due to people’s tightening economic situation.

A kilo of live lamb is sold for LE240-250, while a kilo of live cow is offered at LE175-195, Zaghloul told the Weekly, noting that last year’s prices averaged between LE130-LE85.

Despite Ahmed’s economic circumstances, he decided to participate with his neighbours in slaughtering a cow, securing his one-seventh share in accordance with Sharia.

Ahmed, who has practised this custom during Eid Al-Adha for 20 years, was affected by financial burdens this year but did not want to break his annual tradition.

Many civil society organisations have advertised that people can join in the slaughter by paying LE9,600 per share for local meat, up from LE7,900 last year. The per capita share is approximately 10 kg of meat.

The same organisations also offer sacrifice sukuk (bonds) for imported meat at LE6,700, and shares of charitable meat at LE500 per share.

Several associations have introduced instalment plans, allowing payment over 10 months with a down payment of LE3,300 and a monthly instalment of LE630.

Zaghloul believes that the introduction of sukuk has diminished the joy of the tradition of slaughtering the sacrificial animal during Eid and has impacted butchers who traditionally perform these slaughters.

The Decent Life Foundation, a member of the National Alliance for Civil Development Work (NACDW), announced that one of the advantages of sukuk is that it allows people to participate in the tradition at a reasonable price while ensuring that the meat reaches the neediest, especially in rural and remote areas.

However, Zaghloul argues that sacrifices conducted within one’s community foster joy, social cohesion, friendliness and compassion, as they are performed for those in need.

Ahmed Ali, executive director of programmes at the Misr Al-Kheir Foundation, a member of the NACDW, believes that despite the purely charitable goal of the sukuk campaign, it annually has a transformative impact on the lives of many eligible recipients, who often become small-scale breeders after receiving animal husbandry training under the supervision of Ard Al-Khair Company.

With continued development courses for the participants, they can become investors in livestock development projects, aligning with one of the Misr Al-Kheir Foundation’s key goals of comprehensive development, in cooperation with national banks in Egypt, Ali explained.

He stressed that demand for sukuk has increased this year despite the rising prices.

Um Iman, a woman over 60, received a voucher from the charitable organisation near her home which entitles her to a kilo of meat at Eid.

She appreciates the Eid present “although I used to receive enough meat to last me for two months after Eid, but since last year, the quantity distributed by these kind people has decreased. However, I am grateful I still get to eat meat every Eid.”


* A version of this article appears in print in the 13 June, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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