(MENAFN - Arab News) Livestock market traders said prices will rise 15 percent this winter because of an expected shortage in fodder.
Eid Al-Shammari, chairman of the Agricultural Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, said that most fodder are seasonal, especially "clover" and corn that are not grown in winter. He said the rise of price, which is expected in January, is justified because of lack of fodder in the winter.
He added that most farmers start storing fodder extensively to feed livestock during the winter or to monopolize the market. Thus, demand grows while the tight supply pushes prices up.
He also criticized the unjustified storing of fodder, which he called wide monopoly that directly causes price instability.
Food security, according to Al-Shammari, should be ensured through a comprehensive plan set by the Ministry of Planning and related government agencies such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Water.
He said the fodder prices have also risen because farmers have stopped growing wheat, a winter crop, which is also used as fodder. He said it's ironic that farmers have stopped growing wheat, a forage crop for livestock, and switched to cultivating other kinds of fodder that consume more water than wheat.
Livestock trader Khalid Al-Ameiri suggested a four-point solution to the problem. He said there should be daily monitoring of the livestock market throughout Saudi Arabia by the municipality, immigration police and labor offices. Secondly, fodder export to GCC countries should be immediately halted and farmers given subsidies to grow clover. Thirdly, livestock farmers should have access to veterinary care provided by specialized vets. And finally, consumers should support national products.