Rural cattle markets in different parts of the country are witnessing lower sales than expected as not many wholesale traders are showing up to collect sacrificial animals for re-selling in Dhaka and other big cities.
The wholesale cattle traders said they are cautious about buying cattle this year as there might be a fall in retail cattle sales this year amid the Covid-19 outbreak.Tablu Ahmed, a cattle trader from Kushtia, told the Daily Sun that he has been sourcing a large number of cattle from the rural cattle markets every year, but did not buy any cattle this year fearing loss.
He also said wholesale buyers also buy cattle from him every year before Eid-ul-Adha, but this year not a single trader showed interest in buying cattle from his stock.
A cattle farmer from Kushtia, Arshaful Islam, said he raised three cows to sell them ahead of Eid-ul-Azha but yet to sale any of those in the rural cattle markets.
Like Arshaful, many marginal cattle farmers are expecting to sale their sacrificial animals at a profit, but the coronavirus has changed the situation this year.
Not only the cattle markets in Kushtia but also markets in Thakurgaon are also not seeing many wholesale buyers.
Large numbers of sacrificial animals are on display at around 21 cattle markets in Thakurgaon, but the sale is yet to pick up.Razib Hossain, a cattle seller at Khochabari cattle market in Thakurgaon, said usually buyers from Dhaka, Chattogram, Narayanganj and different big cities visit the rural cattle markets every, but only a handful of buyers showed up this year.
Sale of big cows has not gained momentum as most of the buyers are purchasing small local cows, he said.
He said only local retail buyers are visiting the cattle markets and buying a few cattle while others are waiting for the price to fall.
Abdul Hannan, a cattle farmer from Kumarkhali in Kushtia, said he visited four cattle markets last week to sell his cows but prices are getting lower day by day.
“Buyers now don’t want to pay more than Tk 60,000 for a cow that could have been easily sold at more than Tk 70,000 in a typical pre-Eid cattle market,” he said.
Many seasonal traders of sacrificial animals said they are not doing cattle business this year due to the transport crisis, closure of markets and reduced purchasing capacity of people caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of seasonal traders of sacrificial animals has fallen drastically as many have left the business.
Imran Hossain, president of Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association, told the Daily Sun that a large number of people are facing financial crisis, which might cause a fall in the demand for sacrificial animals for Eid.
Most of the marginal farmers living in the rural area will face the crisis as like as the big farmers this year, he said.
Marginal farmers are depending on the profits they make during the sales of their cattle before Eid-ul-Azha, he added.
Around 1.15-1.20 crore sacrificial animals are ready to hit the cattle market across the country ahead of Eid-ul-Azha this year, said Dr ABM Khaleduzzaman, assistant director (farm) of Department of Livestock Services (DLS).
He said they will maintain health awareness in the cattle markets but there is a chance that 20-25 per cent cattle will remain unsold this year.
“Last year 1.18 crore sacrificial animals were ready against the demand for 1.11 crore,” he said, adding that every year the demand increases by around 10 per cent.
More than 5 lakh cattle farmers raise cattle to sell them before Eid-ul-Azha, said the official.