MLA: The Effects of Ramadan and Eid ul Fitr

AUSTRALIA - Ramadan and Eid ul Fitr are two important events in the Islamic calendar that have a marked impact on the Australian livestock and halal red meat industry. This significant religious period is one of fasting and celebration for Muslims worldwide.
calendar icon 11 September 2008
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With the Muslim community having a world population of just under 2 billion, this represents a large and growing market for the Australian livestock and halal red meat industry, says the Meat and Livestock Association. The Middle East Markets and Asian Markets (such as Indonesia and Malaysia) are significantly impacted at this time of the year, as consumption patterns change.

Ramadan marks the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset. The daily fast is broken after sunset with the Iftar meal (the meal at the end of the day to break the fast is often held as a community to break their daily fast together). Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it.

The Islamic holiday of Eid ul Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, as per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast; a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor (‘Zakat al-Fitr’), everyone puts on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends.

Significant for the Australian livestock industry and its production systems, is that the Islamic calendar is based on a lunar cycle, and therefore, is 11-12 days shorter than the solar calendar. Hence this means that Ramadan and Eid ul Fitr will move forward every year – moving a significant period of demand towards a period of low supply for Australian livestock production systems.

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