The coordinator of the North Alentejo Livestock Producers Group - Natur-al-Carnes, Maria Vacas de Carvalho, explained to the Lusa agency that the market is “more stable” because of exports, also highlighting that lambs with an average of 30 kilos of live weight are being sold “between 3.50 and 3.55 euros per kilo”.

The group with around 400 shareholders, has an increase in prices “of around 20%”, compared to the previous year.

Maria Vacas de Carvalho also highlighted that producers are facing an “exceptionally good year” in terms of pastures, something that did not occur in 2023 due to the drought.

The president of the Association of Young Farmers of the South (AJASUL) and farmer, Diogo Vasconcelos, told Lusa that in the Évora region, lambs are being sold for values identical to or even “slightly higher” than those mentioned by the Natur-a representative.

The official, who also highlights the importance of lamb exports, mainly to Israel, also indicates that at this time “there is a lot of domestic consumption” due to traditions related to Easter.

Diogo Vasconcelos also highlights that at this time the prices being charged are “very competitive,” as it is the “most beneficial” year for farmers who do not need to supplement animals, as they did in 2023, because of the drought.

“There is pasture, and the animals do not have to be supplemented, which is advantageous, but it is not possible to make up for the losses we suffered due to the drought [in 2023], it takes time to recover,” he said.

In the district of Beja, demand for lambs “continues to rise” and sales prices also registered “a slight increase” compared to the previous year, António Lopes, president of the board of directors of the livestock producer group Carnes do Campo, confirmed to Lusa Branco, based in Castro Verde.

“For animals weighing 25 to 30 kilos, the average price varies between 100 and 120 euros”, he revealed, confirming that, in addition to exports, especially to Israel, sales of lambs to the national market have also increased.

According to António Lopes, “last year there was a very large import of lamb, as prices were different and large supermarkets chose to buy imported lamb”.

“But, this year, they chose to use national lamb and import almost nothing. More than half of the lamb production can stay here [in Portugal], “he added.

The drought recorded in recent years has affected agricultural farms in the region, but 2024 has been “excellent in pastures, which hasn’t been known for a long time”, which benefits production, acknowledged António Lopes.

“It's difficult to heal the 'wound' left over from last year, but at least this year is already a relief and there are other perspectives for the future”, he concluded.

In Campo Branco, a region that covers the Alentejo municipalities of Castro Verde and Almodôvar and part of Aljustrel, Mértola and Ourique, around 15,000 sheep are sold every year, through the group of livestock producers.