The coordinator of the Grouping of Livestock Producers in the Northern Alentejo - Natur-al-Carnes, Maria Vacas de Carvalho, told the agency Lusa that sales in the district of Portalegre “are better” than at Easter last year, already marked by covid- 19.

However, they are still a long way from previous years, before the pandemic appeared on the “map”. “Sales are better than last year, but it has not been a spectacular year. It's not like it was normal, ”she said. Exports have given a “great help” to the sector, according to the official, who pointed out that the main difficulty is the sales that Natur-al-Carnes makes with large areas and butchers. "Then, yes, we feel this difficulty, because whoever buys always wants to 'crush' the price, families are short of money for food," she lamented.

Despite this problem, the price of lamb “is better”, compared to 2020, since, at that time, it was “very complicated”, because it was at this time of the year that the pandemic started, he compared. "If Easter was within 15 days it would be much better, because the lambs are still very small," said Maria Vacas de Carvalho, referring that, in the case of Natur-al-Carnes, the average price per kilo of live lamb around 3.27 euros. Further south, in the Beja district, the sale of lambs "has been going extremely well" at this time, António Lopes said, president of the board of directors of the producer group Carnes do Campo Branco, based in Castro Verde. According to this official, this Easter, “demand has increased” for lambs and the amounts paid to producers “have been higher” than in previous years, varying between “3.00 and 3.20 euros per kilo ”.

From Campo Branco, a region that covers the counties of Castro Verde and Almodôvar and part of those from Aljustrel, Mértola and Ourique, lambs are leaving for the national market, but also for destinations like Israel or, since the United Kingdom left the European Union , Italy and Germany, he indicated. "If we had more animals, we would sell more," said the president of Carnes do Campo Branco, a group that sells an average of 10,000 lambs a year. The group's president also acknowledged that the pandemic "is not affecting the sector" and even "has valued some products", as is the case with lamb.v Also in the Évora district, sales went "really well" in the period before Easter, especially "for export", but "also for consumption at the local level", António Camelo, of the Association of Producers of the Rural World of Portugal, told Lusa. Montemor-o-Novo Region (APORMOR).

Despite "a lot of demand", the offer was also high and ended up being "all sold at good prices", so the pandemic "was not reflected properly" in the sector, he added. “We held two auctions this month, the adhesion was great and the prices were high. About 5,500 animals were sold for an average of 90 to 100 euros per animal weighing 30 kilograms. The price was not higher than last year, but it was the same ”, quantified the person in charge. In this way, “prices have remained high at this time of year, both last year and now”, even though in 2020 the Easter season has already been experienced in a pandemic, which always has some influence on the consumption of beef and lamb. “The pandemic always influences because the restaurants are closed and, necessarily, there is less consumption. But it is not reflected in sales, because a large part or most of the animals are for export ”, commented António Camelo.