The number was 100,000 last year, the commerce ministry says
The online sales of sacrificial animals could reach 700,000 this year, with more and more people preferring the virtual way of buying cattle amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi has said.
"I think the sales of animals could reach 500,000-700,000 this year. Last year, the figure was about 100,000," he said at a webinar on the impact of e-commerce on SMEs, held in Dhaka on Thursday.
On the virtual promotion of products manufactured by the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the commerce minister said his ministry had been working to help them.
"But cooperation from all stakeholders is required to achieve success in this regard. We all have to move forward together," he added.
The virtual seminar, organized by Better Bangladesh Foundation (BBF), was also addressed by Channel i Director (News) Shykh Seraj, SME Foundation Chairman Prof Masudur Rahman, BBF Chairman Prof Masud A Khan, Director General of WTO Cell under Commerce Ministry Hafizur Rahman, of E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) General Secretary Abdul Wahed Tamal, and Walton Group Director Sabina Jarin Orona.
Sharing his own experience of buying a cow on an online platform during Eid-ul-Azha last year, Tipu said initially there were some problems with the virtual trading process. "But they have been resolved in consultation with Bangladesh Bank."
On his part, Shykh Seraj spoke about the huge scope for e-commerce in the country. "But there is a need for an umbrella body to bring all the SMEs under it, especially the rural producers and traders. This would help them tap the potential that e-commerce has in Bangladesh."
"SME Foundation, ICT Ministry and Commerce Ministry can play a vital role in this regard," he added.
Hafizur Rahman, however, rued the lack of mechanism in the country to promote many SMEs producing "lost products" through financial inclusion.
Abdul Wahed said e-CAB has 1,600 members connected to 12,000 SMEs. "But most of these SMEs are from urban areas. Initiatives are required to promote the rural SMEs as well so as to involve them in the virtual sales platforms," he said.