(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The Consumer Protection Society (CPS) on Tuesday threatened to launch a boycott on local red meat, as butchers said prices had hit a record high recently despite weak demand.
In separate interviews with The Jordan Times on Tuesday, butchers blamed the rising prices on tight supply of local livestock in the Jordanian market, as traders prefer to export animals to Gulf countries.
Ashraf Dukhan, an owner of a butchery that sells only local red meat in the city of Zarqa, 22 kilometres from the capital, complained that his store's sales had dropped by over 50 per cent since prices started to touch JD12 per kilo around a year ago.
The main reason for high prices, according to Dukhan, is that livestock owners prefer to ship their animals to the Gulf region, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
He urged authorities to reduce the volume of local livestock exports.
Khaled Qudah, a butcher from Ajloun, 80km northwest of Amman, agreed that exports are to blame, adding that instability in Syria also pushed local meat prices up.
The ongoing violence in Syria has halted sheep imports from the neighbouring country, Qudah noted, saying that the fresh red meat from Syria is the same quality as Jordanian meat but cheaper.
"Demand for local meat also dropped because consumers have no money to spend," he added, pointing out that sales at his store have gone down sharply over the past few months.
Abu Zaid, the owner of Abu Hatem butchery in downtown Amman, said demand for Jordanian meat is down because prices are "unacceptably high".
"It is insane that the price of a kilo of local red meat is JD12 to JD13," the butcher said.
However, Abdul Nasser Mohammad, who owns a butchery that only sells imported red meat, was satisfied with the volume of daily sales.
People nowadays prefer imported red meat because it is more affordable, he said, with prices per kilo ranging between JD5 and JD6.
Customers typically prefer meat from Romania, Australia and Sudan, Mohammad added.
Consumer Ahmad Taani, a public sector employee, said local red meat has become unaffordable, whereas he can feed his five-member family imported meat for JD50 per month.
CPS President Mohammad Obeidat accused traders in the local market of monopolistic practices, saying that meat prices in some areas have even exceeded JD13 per kilo.
He accused authorities of being unable to control the local market, noting out that previous boycotts of local red meat three years ago had achieved the goal of forcing traders to reduce prices.