2016 Eid-el-Kabir (Sallah) celebration has come and gone. But the memories of the historic festival will continue to linger in the lives of muslims across the globe, especially in Nigeria where the celebration was low key due to the ongoing recession which has forced every individual to adopt financial discipline even prior to the festive period.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s investigations revealed that ram sellers across the country recorded abysmally low patronage this year compared to their experience in the previous years. Even, it’s also reported that muslims in most parts of the northern part of the country could not afford rams this year due to their skyrocketing prices.
The market situation, however, informed the decision by ram dealers and retailers across the country to reduce the prices and other related animals meant for the annual sacrifice on the eve of Sallah which in turn crashed the profits expected from the trade this year as some rams that were supposed to be sold for about N150,000 and more were later sold at give away prices ranging from N80,000 to N97,000 while average rams of between N45,000 and N65,000 were auctioned at the maximum of N35,000 on Sallah day not only to allow more willing muslims afford them but also to clear the stock as the chances of selling them in bulk after the festival were slim,
As usual, ENCOMIUM Weekly went round some ram markets in Lagos, shortly after Sallah celebration to study the situation as regards patronage and what will happen to the unsold rams. Some of the sellers who spoke with us admitted the fact that there was a sharp drop in the profit margin of the business this year compared to what it was in 2016, citing poor economic situation of the country as the main factor responsible for the decline.
One of the traders in Abbattoir Lairage, Oko Oba, Ibrahim Musa from Sokoto said, “What happened this year was expected. I personally anticipated there would be fall in the demand for Sallah rams this year due to the country’s situation, that’s why I ordered for less this year compared to what I bided for last year. Even, many people couldn’t afford rams in the north this year despite the fact that they’re cheap there compared to the prices here in Lagos and other southern states.
“I did not sell up to 30 percent of my rams until Sallah eve when the situation forced me to reduce the price even beyond our usual way so that I could break even if at all I don’t make any profit. I had to sell as cheap as N28,000 ram on a Sallah day while some of my giant rams were disposed for as cheap as N70,000 just to cover transportation and other expenses. And it makes no sense insisting to sell at standard price so far you can’t afford to take them back to the north.
“Now, the remaining rams will be sold in bits but at reduced prices. Everybody believes the only festival that goes with ram is Eid-el-Kabir. That’s the reason the business thrives during the season. But this year is the worst experience 23 years of my being in the trade. But Alhamdulillah, we’re alive. I hope by next year, the situation will improve and I will make enough profit to compensate for the losses recorded this year.”
Another marketer, Shuaib Idris also lamented, adding that the cost of transporting the rams down to Lagos this year led to the unprecedented and unavoidable hike in the price. He therefore called on the government to address the situation in the country by creating an enabling environment for the business and all other allied business interests to thrive so that eligible muslims across the country can fulfill the religious responsibility come next sallah.
“It’s regrettable this year that I brought many rams to Lagos. The situation was not this bad in 2015. I have learnt my lesson this year.
“I couldn’t even sell half of the rams despite auctioning them. Everybody was complaining. The situation in the country is poor, no money anywhere. But when there is life, there is hope.
“Although the cost of raising rams in the north this year was far higher that what it used to be. Transporting them to far destinations like Lagos attracted a higher cost. That’s why prices of rams varied this year from place to place. But most of us were left with no option than to bring down the prices to attract more buyers because after the Sallah, it will be difficult to recoup our investment. And we can’t slaughter all of them ourselves.
“We only need to appeal to the government to create a better business environment against next year so that more muslims can participate actively in the celebration and those of us in the trade will also have reasons to smile at the end of the season.”