SINGAPORE - It will cost at least $499 to buy a sheep for the Islamic ritual sacrifice of korban in October - the highest starting price on record.
As usual, more than half of the livestock, or about 2,000 animals this year, is coming from Australia.
Last year, these sheep cost $455.
According to Mr Mohamad Helmy Mohd Isa, director of mosques for the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), inflation as well as higher logistical and freight costs have caused the price to climb by nearly 10 per cent.
But there will be 40 per cent more animals available this year, with 1,500 lambs being imported from Ireland for the first time.
These lambs, which cost $575 each, bring the total to 3,500 animals.
Last year, with Australian supplies in some doubt, 500 Canadian sheep were imported as an alternative, and they had cost $757 each.
In Singapore, Muslims sacrifice mostly sheep for korban.
Mr Ustaz Rashid Ramli, chairman of the Singapore Mosques Korban Committee, said the lambs were better value this year.
"Demand is there. So we increased the supply this year to get a better price from an alternative source."
"Last year's prices were not economical. With better numbers, we can offer them at better rates," he said.
This year's livestock will be imported by Mini Environment Singapore (MES), an approved korban vendor appointed by Muis.
MES had considered France as an alternative source but decided against it as prices are about 20 per cent higher than Ireland's.
The animals are expected to arrive here several days before Hari Raya Haji on Oct 5.
Korban will be allowed at 24 mosques this year, up from last year's 21. The new additions include Al-Firdaus Mosque off Old Choa Chu Kang Road, and Tentera Di Raja Mosque in Clementi.
Registration at the mosques opens today and will end on Oct 1. Order forms are available at the places of worship or online at www.meskorban.sg
Last year, the Australian sheep were sold out just 10 days after registration opened, and Mr Mohamad expects demand to be equally strong this year for livestock both from Australia and Ireland.
He said: "There is a less than $100 difference between the lamb and mutton (from the sheep), so people might be more willing to go for the alternative lamb...
"We also have a lot more livestock than last year, which is good news for the community."
This article was first published on August 20, 2014.
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