Saudi importers of Sudanese livestock have warned that import bills for livestock would leap 25 percent as a direct result of cancellation of government subsidies for fuel and food materials in that country. The importers are considering other options for livestock import, as the security situation in Sudan is also deteriorating.
“We have been facing a number of obstacles, as inflation is galloping in Sudan. In the absence of fuel subsidies, transportation costs of livestock from Sudan’s interior to the sea ports on the Red Sea coast have gone very high,” Adel Al-Harbi, a Saudi importer of Sudanese cattle, told Arab News.
Al-Harbi added that another cause of the rise in cattle price was the lifting of food subsidy in that country.
“The fear that the current problems in Sudan might affect the internal security situation is prompting the Saudi importers to look for another market,” he said.
With Ramadan around the corner, people in the Kingdom are worried about any rise in the meat price.
“Some traders in the Kingdom are likely to raise the meat price because of the increasing import costs,” he said.
Professor of economics at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah Farouk Al-Khatib affirmed that the meat price would, undoubtedly, go up between 10 and 15 percent following the rise of livestock import costs, “especially given that Sudanese livestock has the highest demand in the Saudi market.”
Cattle from Kenya and other countries could fill the shortage, but they are not as popular as the Sudanese meat, he said.
“Kenyan livestock is cheaper than Sudanese, but it is not in demand in the Kingdom,” he said.
Abdul Rahman Abu Talib, economic adviser at the Sudanese Consulate in Jeddah, said there was nothing extraordinary about the rise in food prices in the Gulf including Saudi Arabia at this time. It happens every year when Ramadan and the wedding season approach, he said.
“Moreover, livestock export to the Arab countries is vital to Sudan’s economy. Therefore, noarticlebody would make any adventurous move by raising export prices,” Abu Talib said.
A Sudanese official predicted early in the year that his country’s export to Saudi Arabia would exceed 4 million cattle and several thousands of tons of meat at the cost of SR 2.4 billion against 3 million cattle last year.
Husain Koya, economic adviser at the Sudanese embassy in Riyadh, also denied any move to raise the cattle price exported to the Kingdom, as the export price to Saudi Arabia is already reasonable compared to the export prices to other countries.