EghtesadOnline: Light livestock aged between 100 and 150 days are being slaughtered and supplied to the market due to the shortage of animal feed resulting from mismanagement in the distribution and price control of fodder, barley and alfalfa, according to the head of Light Livestock Owners Association.
“This will, for sure, result in scarcity of sheep herds and a drastic rise in meat prices in the near future, as lambs and entire livestock [capable of breeding] are being sent to slaughterhouses,” Afshin Sadr-Dadras was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official complained that mismanagement in providing animal feed started more than two years ago.
“Responsible officials have been deaf to all warnings. Throughout this long period, animal farm owners, businesspeople from the private sector as well as experts in the field tried to raise the government’s attention and inform them of the alarming situation but to no avail,” he said.
“The government set up an online platform called Bazargah and claimed it would solve the problem of animal feed distribution, cut off the hands of middlemen, manage allotments to each farm and put an end to rent-seeking and illegal activity. This never happened.”
Sadr-Dadras noted that the allotments were not enough and delivery of livestock feed consignments took at least two months after they were ordered, therefore, farmers were forced to procure them from the open market at much higher prices.
“For example, barley at Bazargah is priced at 19,000 rials [$0.07] per kilogram, but farmers had to purchase each kilo at 60,000 rials [$0.24] from the open market. For this reason and because animal farmers were unable to provide as much feed as their herds required, they started selling their young livestock for slaughter,” he said.
“Practically speaking, a large part of our herd owners have now gone bankrupt. The end price for the production of each kilo of sheep meat stands around 1 million rials [$3.97] but it’s bought at between 350,000 rials [$1.39] and 430,000 rials [$1.70] per kilo. This clearly doesn’t add up.”
Sadr-Dadras said that in the second half of the year (starting Sept. 23), the domestic meat market will face a difficult situation and those with no knowledge of animal husbandry and agricultural matters who have made faulty decisions and brought the livestock business and market to this point have to be held accountable now.
Reiterating the same statements, Mojtaba Aali, CEO of the National Animal Farmers Association, says drought and low precipitation levels have made most pastures barren and fodder is highly scarce.
“Add to this scarcity, government mismanagement of animal feed imports and distribution. Right now, the meat market is doing fine because, farmers, who are unable to feed their cattle and herds, are selling them too early and before they are fit to be slaughtered. What this will bring about is a dramatic fall in livestock and meat supply within the next 3-6 months,” he added.
Fazl Khorram, CEO of the Nomadic Cooperative Association for Itinerant Livestock Farmers, also said that this year’s drought has made its negative impacts and the nomadic livestock are perishing.
“If the government does not intervene and buy livestock from the nomads at agreed prices, middlemen will enter the game and make purchases at much lower prices. This will threaten the livelihood of our nomads,” he told ILNA.
The official noted that there are currently around 246,000 nomadic households in Iran who own a total of 22.4 million head of livestock, supplying 25-30% (around 190,000 tons) of the country’s demand for meat.
“The country’s nomadic population has suffered losses of up to 16.2 trillion rials [$64 million], due to this year’s drought. The figure is increasing by the day and the problem needs to be addressed urgently,” he stressed.
What’s more, the same problems are plaguing the business over at the poultry industry.
Nasser Nabipour, a board member at Mihan Central Poultry Farmers Association, told Fars News Agency the rise in production prices, shortage of poultry feed and government mismanagement have led to a decline in egg incubation in poultry farms and this will cause problems in egg supply to the local market within the next few months.
Poultry farmers, he added, spend around 183,000 rials ($0.72) to produce each kilo of eggs, but the market price set by the government is 140,000 ($0.55) per kilo. The latter figure was set based on production prices of last November. Clearly, poultry farmers are selling their products without making any profit.
Nabipour said on top of all other handicaps, transportation prices have also gone up by 40% this year, yet truck drivers are not content with the new official fees and have themselves applied an additional 70% increase.
“Last year, we saw a 10 million decline in egg incubation due to similar problems. Unfortunately, the same is destined to happen this year and the market will be in turmoil in the next few months,” he concluded.