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DOHA: Poultry products are becoming dearer in Qatar, due to a severe shortage in supply and the inability of local farms to meet the growing demand.
Prices of frozen chicken have increased by 20 to 30 percent over the past few weeks, after an increase in prices in the international market. Some popular brands that earlier cost QR12 per kg are now available at QR15.
There was a severe shortage of fresh chicken in the local market after Saudi Arabia, the major exporter of poultry products to the country, imposed a ban on exports. The ban is being relaxed but industry sources believe that prices of imported and local varieties will go up shortly as dealers are awaiting a nod from the authorities.
“Now we are getting limited stocks of fresh chicken from Saudi Arabia after the country relaxed the ban. Local poultry products meet hardly 10 percent of our demand,” an official of a leading hypermarket told The Peninsula yesterday.
He said that despite a shortage in supply, prices of fresh chicken had not increased considerably because the authorities had not given a permission until now.
However, this is not likely to continue for long and dealers are expecting an official nod sooner rather than later.
Prices of eggs — local and imported — have gone up by QR2 to QR3 per crate (of 30 eggs). Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the two major exporters of egg to Qatar and all their popular brands have increased their prices of late, up to more than QR20 per crate.
Several customers complained that the size of the local egg had become smaller while the supplier had raised the prices. “One crate of local egg, which was earlier available at QR14.50, now costs QR16.50. And the size of the egg has become smaller,” said a customer.
Another variety, which is even smaller, is currently sold at QR12.50 per crate. With prices continuing to soar and poultry products remaining in short supply, several citizens called on the government to decentralise the poultry industry to allow and encourage more Qatari investors to enter the sector.
According to official data, local farms are capable to meet only 30 per cent of the demand for poultry products, forcing the country to rely on imports. The Qatar Meat and Livestock Company — Mawashi — recently announced plans to enter the poultry business in a big way, with claims to fully meet the local requirements for chicken and other products.
“Mawashi has the capability to do that but why are they delaying such plans? Poultry farming is a relatively simple business. Why is the government not giving a chance to local investors to enter this sector?” asked Mohammed Salem Al Darwish, a prominent Qatari businessman. “We need more companies like Mawashi. Why only a single company?” wondered another businessman.