EghtesadOnline: A total of 53,883 tons of red meat were produced in official slaughterhouses during the month ending July 22 to register a 49% rise compared with the similar month of last year.
Meat output witnessed a 5% month-on-month growth.
The Statistical Center of Iran's latest report shows beef accounted for 28,393 tons or 52.69% of the overall production, indicating a year-on-year increase of 39%.
A total of 21,196 tons of lamb (up 73% YOY), 3308 tons of goat meat (up 21% YOY) and 986 tons of meat from other types of livestock were produced during the month under review, accounting for 39.34%, 6.14% and 1.83% of total output respectively, SCI reported on its website.
Demand for red meat has declined 25-30% and per capita consumption declined to 8.5 kilograms in the current Iranian year (March 2020-21) compared to the year before, according to the chairman of Sheepmeat Union.
“Meat consumption has declined more than in previous years due to rising prices,” Ali Asghar Maleki was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on Monday.
Referring to shortage of livestock and the rise in prices caused by the excessive slaughter of breeding cattle since the beginning of the current fiscal year (started March 21), the official said, "Under these conditions, the market will face a shortage of mutton within a month."
Light livestock that are between 100 and 150 days old are being slaughtered and sent to the market due to the shortage of animal feed, resulting from disastrous 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 quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official complained that mismanagement in providing animal feed is nothing new and began more than two years ago.
“Officials have been deaf to all warnings. Throughout this long period, animal farm owners, businesspeople from the private sector and experts in the field have tried to raise the government’s attention and inform them of the alarming situation but to no avail,” he said.
The government, added Sadr-Dadras, set up an online platform, called Bazargah, and claimed it would solve the problem of animal feed distribution, sideline middlemen, manage allotments to each farm and put an end to rent-seeking and illegal activity.
“This never happened. The allotments were not enough and the delivery of livestock feed consignments took at least two months after they were ordered. Therefore, farmers were made to procure these products from the open market at much higher prices. For example, barley prices at Bazargah are 19,000 rials [$0.07] per kilogram, but farmers had to purchase each kilo at 60,000 rials [$0.24] from the open market,” he said.
For this reason, he added, and because animal farmers were unable to provide as much feed as their herds required, they started to sell their young livestock for slaughter.
“Practically speaking, a large part of our herd owners have now gone bankrupt,” he said.
Sadr-Dadras noted that over the second half of the year, the domestic meat market will be in a difficult situation and those with no knowledge of animal husbandry and agricultural matters who have taken the faulty decisions and brought the livestock business and market to this point should be held accountable.
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, not being able to feed their cattle and herds, are selling them too early and before they are fit for slaughter. What this will bring about is a dramatic fall in livestock and meat supply within the next three to six months.”
CEO of the Nomadic Cooperative Association for Itinerant Livestock Farmers Fazl Khorram said 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, intermediaries will enter the scene and make purchases at much lower prices. This will threaten the livelihood of our nomads,” he added.
The official noted that there are currently 246,000 nomadic households in Iran who own a total of 22.4 million head of livestock, supplying between 25% and 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 ($60 million), due to this year’s drought. The figure is increasing by the day and the problem needs to be addressed urgently,” he told ILNA.