Armed Forces, electoral candidates distribute meat ahead of Eid al-Adha
Courtesy: Youth for Change Coalition Facebook page

The Armed Forces has started distributing 1.5 million boxes of provisions in villages and cities around the country in celebration of the Eid al-Adha holiday, state-owned Al-Ahram reported on Tuesday. The initiative seeks to alleviate daily pressures on citizens, the paper reported.

The military will be distributing 66,000 boxes of provisions across Upper Egypt, in collaboration with the Social Solidarity Ministry, according to Ibrahim Gad, an official in Aswan, the privately owned Al-Shorouk reported on Tuesday.

Gad stated that 7,200 school bags will be distributed to school children, in addition to subsidies for orphans and those with special needs.

This is not the first time the military distributes provisions for citizens — three million boxes of supplies were issued during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.     

Despite shortages in foreign currency, the government will import 50,000 heads of cattle and camels, 20,000 heads of sheep and 90,000 tons of frozen meats before festivities begin on Thursday, according to a report issued earlier this month, Al-Shorouk reported.

According to the Veterinary Quarantine Authority, an increase in the number of heads of live cattle is expected this year, mostly from Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and a number of European countries.

Minister of Agriculture Farid Abu Hadid stated that Egypt will import 4,500 heads of sheep from Georgia and the price of its meat will not exceed LE25 per kilo.

Meat prices were making headlines in August when a popular call to boycott meat in protest of rising prices caught steam and attracted media attention. The campaign, Balaha Lahma, which translates loosely as “Let’s forget about meat,” started in Upper Egypt, prompting government statements about the price of meat over the Eid period.

The surge in meat and live cattle imports coincide with preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Many candidates and political parties are notorious for distributing meat and provisions to underprivileged families in return for votes.

In the Upper Egypt city of Minya, many candidates had already started distribution campaigns in major squares and streets within the city.

General Shady Aboul Ela, a candidate in the Bandar al-Minya constituency, has made meat available from his electoral headquarters, Al-Shorouk reported on Tuesday. The headquarters will be open throughout the holiday to provide meat for underprivileged families and services for local residents, Aboul Ela declared.

Journalist, former MP and parliamentary candidate Mostafa Bakry distributed meat inside the building of a school in a small village in the Qena governorate earlier in the month, state-owned Al-Gomhurriya reported. Pictures of the public figure distributing meat went viral on social media, with many criticizing the minister of education for allowing this to happen in a school.