Falling revenue for Turkish Cypriot farmers was put partly down to the fact that people now elect to spend their savings on holidays instead of traditional sacrificial animals by the north’s animal producers’ and breeders’ union chairman Mustafa Naimogullari on Thursday.

Speaking to news website Kibris Postasi, he said sales of sacrificial animals fell over the Eid al-Adha which has just passed, compared to previous years.

He added that decreasing sales have come about partly due to economic conditions in the north, but also due to the fact that people are choosing to go on holiday instead of buying sacrificial animals.

Lower than usual sales over Eid al-Adha are the latest problem to impact Turkish Cypriot farmers, who have spent swathes of recent weeks engaged in protests against the north’s ‘government’ over the latter’s decision to import meat from abroad.

The ‘government’ had made the decision with the aim of driving down prices for consumers, with a growing number of Turkish Cypriots having turned to illegally smuggling meat from the Republic, where it is markedly cheaper.

Naimogullari and other representatives most recently met with the ‘government’ earlier this month, but efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of rising costs for consumers and decreasing revenue for farmers has thus far ended without result.

Meanwhile, 21 tonnes of imported New Zealand lamb have already arrived from the Netherlands.

The north’s ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel had said the decision had been taken for meat to be imported after there had been a large number of arrests made and fines levied against Turkish Cypriots who attempted smuggle meat to the north from the Republic, though this week’s evidence suggests meat is still being smuggled across the Green Line.

He expressed concern that Turkish Cypriots were buying “meat of unknown origin from southern Cyprus”, and that instead, the north would begin importing meat which complies with “EU standards”.

In any case, at present, the Green Line regulation prohibits the movement of animals and animal products from one side of Cyprus to the other.

Despite Ustel’s confidence earlier in the month, the practice of meat smuggling has continued in Cyprus, with a man having been arrested in Mia Milia on Tuesday with 650 kilograms of beef and lamb meat which had been smuggled into the north from the Republic.