Sustain rawhide trading in national interest

6 August, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Every year more than a crore animals are sacrificed in Bangladesh on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha. This religious festival commemorates the sacrifice made by Prophet Abraham on Divine command, thousands of years ago. To fulfil religious obligations millions of Muslims celebrate Eid by sacrificing animals. Thus a huge quantity of rawhide is generated in Bangladesh as a by-product of sacrifice of animals within the short span of a day or two.

The rawhide is sourced by merchants after the Eid and sold to tannery owners and leather processors. The tradition has been so for decades. But unfortunately, in recent times the price of rawhide has declined below the procuring cost incurred by rawhide merchants. Under the circumstances they are facing huge financial losses due to the extremely low price of raw hide. Last season we saw them destroying the raw hides rather than selling at the falling prices.

We can see that the fallen price of raw hide is prevalent this year too. Around 20 per cent rawhide was wasted this year as merchants took a cautious stance in buying hides due to fund crisis. If things continue in this manner, then it will spell the death knell for many of the seasonal merchants of rawhide. Small investors like them cannot sustain the price fall and will give up this business, which will then become the monopoly of fewer and more affluent merchants. This may lead to forming of an unholy syndicate for raw hide collection. This must be averted to make way for healthy growth of the leather industry.

Animal rawhide procured during Eid-ul-Azha is our national wealth and is the primary raw material of our nascent leather industry. If we want our leather industry to grow then we must protect the interest of the rawhide merchants. With proper nurturing, the leather sector can become a huge foreign exchange earning source for Bangladesh similar to the garments sector.

It is disastrous to see thousands of rawhides being left to rot in the streets after the merchants declined to buy the things from seasonal traders. Hides were sold at throwaway prices in many areas across the country amid a drastic fall in demand. The government must ensure a fair price for the animal skins to make the sector viable for the rawhide traders.