Prices of most varieties of imported sheep has seen considerable increase over the past few days at the Central Market with further a rise expected in retail prices due to the limited supply ahead of the upcoming Eid al-Adha season, local Arabic daily Arrayah reported.

A number of retail salesmen at the market stressed that the high prices was out of their hands as the market is mostly controlled by wholesale traders, who re-export a large numbers of sheep.

This has caused the quantity of sheep supplied to the local market to be almost 40% less compared to the previous months and years.

The salesmen told the daily that if this situation continued, prices would double by Eid al-Adha.

They pointed out that locally produced sheep would be an excellent option for customers as retail prices of the animal range from QR1,200 to QR1,300 per head.

Abdulrazak Mohamed, a retailer, noted that the prices of sheep has been almost stable for the past 15 years in Qatar. However, this season prices started increasing early ahead of Eid al-Adha with 20%-30% for most varieties.

In addition, Iranian sheep, which used to be abundant in the local market, saw an increase of almost 50% in price over the past few days.

Mohamed al-Rashidi, a retailer, pointed out wholesale traders started to re-export Iranian sheep to neighbouring countries, which eventually dropped local supply by almost 40% than before.

Haytham Ahmed, a retailer, said that locally produced sheep are now available at comparatively lower prices than imported varieties, especially Iranian stock.

He advised customers to opt for locally produced sheep as an excellent choice for its quality and prices.

Another retailer expected more hikes in prices pointing out that Iranian sheep sells for around QR1,300 currently. This could go for QR1,800 by Eid al-Adha, and the Jordanian sheep, which currently retails at QR1,400 could hit QR2,000, the Arrayah report added.