High demand for beef, particularly during the Islamic Qurban festival which ended yesterday, caused beef prices to almost double compared with the same period last year, according to Islamic leaders and officials.
Him Khortieth, IKatan Mahabbah Muslimin’s (IMAN) representative in Cambodia, said the association planned to share out over 100 cows for free which were originally sold at a double price to Cham communities in at least two provinces, Kampong Cham and Kampong Chhnang, during the Qurban festival.
He said the Islamic festival required Muslims to sacrifice one beloved thing, particularly the sacrifice of a livestock animal, which is a favourite of Islamic people.
He also said that for cows aged more than two years, the price was more than US$200 each last year but climbed to about $400 at this time.
He noted that the price increase resulted from the large-scale exports to Vietnam and said they had fed the cows less sufficiently then before.
“Even though the price is so high, we still find it hard to buy them,” he said, adding that with this festival, the number of cows automatically increase because there were thousands of cows available.
Abdul Rah Man, president of an Islamic Association in Cambodia, said that last year they were able to buy one cow for $300 to give it to the community, but this year is different because $350 is not sufficient.
He said his association, supported by other Islamic charities abroad, shared 255 cows for killing to share the meat with poor Muslims.
He said there were around 60,0000 Cham people in the country.
Over the three days of the festival, each Cham person would eat at least 0.3 kilograms of beef, according to Abdul Rah Man.
Sen Sovann, deputy director of Animal Health and Production Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said that there were some factors leading to a decrease in beef production.
This included farmers using agricultural machines instead of animals and the fact that youths started jobs at factories and there was not enough labour for raising cows.
He said the current price increase resulted from huge exports to the Vietnamese market.
“It is related to huge exports to Vietnam,” he said. “Feeding in our country is not as comprehensive as before because farmers changed to use machines, which leads to a drop in the number of cows.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at [email protected]