Restaurant owners and butchers in the north called for the liberalisation of meat imports on Tuesday saying that due to the reduced livestock, meat is being smuggled from the south.

“Open the way for imported meat” is the common demand of Turkish Cypriot butchers and restaurant owners, who today held a meeting with ‘agriculture minister’ Dursun Oguz.

Amid the inflation in the north, the prices of red meat are increasing almost every week and media often report how it is being smuggled and quantities are being confiscated that have come from the government-controlled areas to the north.

According to Yeni Duzen, as cited by the Cyprus News Agency, meat prices were increasing and due to the reduction in the number of animals, the two groups met Oguz asking for the prices of imported meat and live animals to be fixed.

Oguz promised he would take the matter to the ‘cabinet’ tomorrow.

Chairman of the butchers’ association Khalil Akabijak said after the meeting that they got a promise to open the way for importing meat for a short period of time and to stabilise the prices of animals.

Due to the reduction in livestock, he added, there is smuggling of meat from the south to the north. For the high meat prices, he continued, they blame the butchers, but this is not correct.

“We have reached the point of saying that smuggled meat should come,” Akbijak noted.

For his part, chairman of the restaurant owners’ association Salih Kaim said they would insist on importing meat, adding that “they are in the same boat as the butchers.”