There are a number of websites and apps that cater to the urban, tech-savvy buyers, taking advantage of the widespread use of the internet in smartphones, tablets and personal computers, said several experts and retailers.
According to a source at Bikroy.com, a popular advertisement website, queries on sacrificial animals and the number of advertisement posted on the website has increased fivefold compared to what it was on Eid-ul-Azha last year.
In addition, social media websites such as Facebook play a vital role as the marketing platform for these stores, said both traders and customers.
“I look forward to the finding and buying a healthy cow for Eid-ul-Azha every year. I enjoy doing it,” said Asif Iqbal, a businessman who bought a sacrificial animal from Meghdubi Agro, a cattle farm.
“I discovered Meghdubi Agro on Facebook. I found their page where they had photos of sacrificial cattle on display. They mentioned all the details and where the cattle were reared.
“Seeing the photos, I visited the farm and found that they posted correct information, so I bought a cow from them,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
“We collect cattle from several places and rear them under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon for six months to a year. Everything – from food and medications – is prescribed by the doctor, so there is nothing harmful about the cattle’s diet and medicines,” said Mohammad Ali Shaheen, owner of Meghdubi Agro.
“When I started, the sale was limited within our relatives only. But last year, I sold about 60 cattle. This year, I am hoping to sell at least 200,” he added.
Facebook and online market places such as Bikroy.com have been vital in marketing his cattle, Shaheed told the Dhaka Tribune.
While some places collect cattles from several farms, others engage in contract farming to supply cattle to the consumers.
In contract farming, consumers need to place their order four-five days before when they want the cattle to be delivered.
Sadequa Hassan Sejuti, managing director of e-commerce solution provider Future Solution for Business, said: “We collect cattle from Narshingdi, Tangail, Rangpur and many other districts. Buyers can choose the colour, weight, height and price range and place an order on our website accordingly.”
In most cases, the farmers deliver the cattle to the customers. “This way, cattle farmers are empowered and are more likely to get a fair price,” Sejuti said.
The growth of online cattle trade is a positive sign for the country’s e-commerce industry, said Rajib Ahmed, president of E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (ECAB).
“The market is growing fast, and customers have realised that this system is reliable,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.