Seasonal traders and intermediaries incur losses
Local merchants are alleging that the fall in price of rawhide of sacrificial animals have benefitted wholesalers, while seasonal traders are incurring losses after this year's Eid-ul-Azha.
Akbar Ali, a rawhide trader and proprietor of Ma Enterprise, said a cattle costing Tk50,000 generally contains 17-18 square feet of rawhide, while those costing Tk1 lakh usually span 24-25 sq feet. Goats contain 5sq feet of rawhide.
"The government-set rawhide and rawhide price is implemented in Rajshahi," he added, "Wholesalers bought rawhide between Tk200-600 on the day of Eid. A rawhide worth Tk200 is purchased at a cost of Tk5.71 per sq feet, while a Tk600 rawhide is acquired at Tk17.14 per sq feet."
He also said that the cost of salted rawhide outside of Dhaka is between Tk35-40. "At that rate, a 17sq feet rawhide will be sold to tanners at Tk595, while a 25sq feet rawhide will be sold at Tk875."
Akbar, who is also assistant general secretary of the Rajshahi Rawhide and Skin Merchants Association, said there was no exception to the losses incurred by seasonal rawhide traders this year. "They purchased skins at a price they could not recuperate when selling off to wholesalers - a trend persisting over the last few years."
Many seasonal traders had reportedly taken loans or invested heavily from their savings in hopes of getting good prices for rawhides, but they could not even get back their capital this year, let alone make any profit.
In 2013, the government had set cattle rawhide at Tk85-90, which dipped to Tk45-50 this year.
Ramzan Ali, a seasonal trader, said he had purchased Tk20,000 worth of rawhide on the day of Eid.
"Putting aside my cost of transportation, labour and my own expenses, I managed to profit only Tk800 this year," he said, "A lot of people were not even that lucky. Many seasonal traders entered the market without proper knowledge of how to acquire rawhide. They purchased damaged rawhide, which the wholesalers refused to buy at any cost."
Asaduzzaman Masud, president of the aforementioned association, said the government will purchase rawhide at the price they had set. "Two trucks of rawhide have already been dispatched from Puthia upazila's Belpukur to Dhaka on Monday."
Abdur Rouf, general secretary of the organisation, said Bangladesh Tanners Association still owes Rajshahi wholesalers at least Tk20 crores accumulated from the sale of rawhide the last few years.
Although they have 127 registered members, only 8-10 are actively purchasing rawhide from seasonal traders, he lamented.
MoniruzzamanMoni, president of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the administration previously used to monitor the situation seven days prior to Eid, but the absence of that this year has hampered the trade.