Eid cattle traders in Dhaka stare at 'disaster'

Anisur Rahman, a resident of Uttara Sector-7, offered Tk 250,000 for the Hariana breed cow weighing over 300 kilograms on Wednesday. Rahim was expecting Tk 500,000

Jul 30, 2020

Anisur Rahman, a resident of Uttara Sector-7, offered Tk 250,000 for the Hariana breed cow weighing over 300 kilograms on Wednesday. Rahim was expecting Tk 500,000. He finally agreed to sell it for Tk 325,000 to Anisur.

The trader had bought the cow for Tk 350,000.

“I’ve suffered a loss of Tk 25,000. What else could I do? I could not take it back. All the cattle will be sold at a loss this year,” Rahim told bdnews24.com, sounding gutted.

He would have to deal with the hassle and incur the cost of taking the cow home if he had not agreed to sell it.
Many other traders, who bought cattle to Dhaka from different parts of Bangladesh, were in similar agony.

Many residents of the capital city will not be able to sacrifice animals during the Eid this year due to job losses or shrunk income amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many others have ventured into online marketplaces to buy cattle or decided to skip the ritual altogether in order to avoid the risk of infection.

“I asked for Tk 80,000 for a local breed but the customer offered only Tk 40,000. This cow would cost at least Tk 60,000 even if you buy it from a village household. I guess finally I will have to sell the cow at a loss,” said Md Hashem, a trader from Faridpur.  

Another trader from his district, Sirajul Islam, said he brought five cows on Friday but could not sell a single one as the customers were offering half his asking price.

He said he would take the cattle home whatver the cost. “I won’t sell the cows if the prices remain so low,” Sirajul grumbled.
Kadam Ali from Kushtia sold four bulls at Tk 70,000 each when he was expecting Tk 120,000 for each one.

Masaud Rana brought 60 cows of different breeds from Kushtia to Postogola Shashanghat market. He was yet to sell a single one.

“The customers only ask the price. No one wanted to buy a cow,” he said.

Shamsuddin Tagar, the owner of Saima Dairy Farm who has been in the business for two decades, said never before had he seen such a “dire situation”.

“Coronavirus has ruined our business,” he said.

Even the leaders of the markets are facing losses as they will miss out on the share of the money from the cattle sold.

Parvez Mia, who spent Tk 1.5 million to lease a small cattle market in Uttarkhan, said only 16 of the around 600 cows in his market have been sold.
“It appears like a disaster,” he said.

City corporation councillors, who are monitoring the markets, estimate the rate of cattle sacrifices will drop by up to 50 percent this year.

“The picture in my area is not like the previous Eids. People don’t have much money due to the pandemic. Even many of those who sacrifice cattle in partnership will not be able to perform the ritual,” said Mofizur Rahman, the councillor of ward 19 under Dhaka North City Corporation.

Councillors of five other wards also said they have noticed a lack of festivity and preparation for cattle sacrifice.

Muhammad Abdul Wahed Tomal, the general secretary of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh, however, said online trading of cattle began peaking after the traditional markets opened. They sold more than 1,000 cows in two days.

The customers were buying cattle from the online marketplaces after realising that the prices in the traditional markets were higher, he claimed.


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