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Somalia’s Livestock Exports Feel Hajj Blow

The coronavirus pandemic forced Saudi authorities to limit the hajj to just 1,000 people already in the kingdom, crushing the dreams of millions of pilgrims — and those of the livestock breeders, traders and exporters who supply millions of cows, camels, sheep and goats to feed the foreigners who arrive in the desert city each year. That sudden drop in demand has been devastating for Somalia, where livestock makes up three-quarters of total exports, around 70 percent of which are sent to Saudi Arabia in the months leading up to the hajj. Many Somalis take out loans to expand their herds and pay them back with income in the lead-up to the hajj boom. Now, many face with deeper debt that may turn into a long-term drag on their income.