The online sale of sacrificial animals is increasing but the traffic is raising uncertainty in delivering the cattle on time
Markets for sacrificial animals officially opened in the capital city on Saturday, but their arrivals are very slow due to huge tailbacks on highways and ferry terminals.
The delayed arrivals may cause a shortage of cattle in the markets and push the prices up at the last moment, said traders talking to the UNB correspondent.
Over 500 trucks carrying cattle and goods were found waiting for five to 10 hours to cross River Padma due to heavy traffic at Banglabazar-Shimulia route, according to UNB local correspondent on Saturday afternoon.
Though trucks from various districts in the south are waiting to cross, cattle traders have complained that private vehicles are getting priority to board the ferries.
The long agonizing wait on board the trucks in intense heat is making many animals sick.
Traders reported the death of 25 cattle because of their being stranded on not-too-comfortable trucks amid hot sun and occasional rains.
The traders said it is taking 10 to 12 hours to get a ferry to cross the river which is time-consuming and making the cattle sick.
In talking with UNB many leasers complained of slow arrival of the animals at city’s markets.
Leaser of Merul Badda, Aftab Nagar makeshift cattle market Mahbubur Rahman Shimul said that the cattle are coming very slowly. But the picture may change once the stranded trucks start entering the city.
Owner of a cattle farm in Mymensingh Sadar "Bhai Bhai Dairy Farm" Milon said they have sent only four cows in Dhaka as they are getting the expected price in Mymensingh.
"We are afraid the last moment heavy traffic will make us suffer as it is taking up to 10 hours to deliver the pre-booked cattle to our customers in Dhaka. So we are trying to sell our cattle in areas close to us," he said.
Trader from Fridpur Karim Mollah and his cousin have brought 60 cattle to sell in city’s Shanir Akhra open field market.
He said: "The number of cattle available this year is lower than the previous years due to raging pandemic. Over 20 million cattle are sacrificed across the country each year. But this year we have a stock of 10 million only. It will cause a shortage in the market. "
"There is no alternative but to ask for a high price this year as our expenses on fodder and other inputs have doubled this year. The cost of rearing is high and so the price will be high as well," he said.
However, the government has from the beginning claimed there will be an adequate supply of animals than the demand.
A total of 11.9 million cattle are ready for slaughtering this year, including 4.5 million cows and buffaloes while the rest are goats, sheep and other animals, according to the Department of Livestock Services (DLS).
Visiting some markets on Saturday UNB correspondent found medium size cows ranging from TK65,000 to TK70,000 are in high demand.
Most buyers said there is a shortage of medium size cows in the market.
Kabir Islam who went to Shanir Akhra market said the price is beyond his budget.
"I am looking for a medium-sized cow. But I can’t afford the price the traders ask. Almost all traders charged more than Tk1 lakh for midsize cattle. My limit is Tk80,000 to Tk85,000," he said.
The online sale of sacrificial animals is, however, increasing. So far, more than 200,000 cattle have been sold online.
Public health experts welcomed it as a positive development as it helps avoid coronavirus risks.
Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam said that arrangements have been made to sell the sacrificial animals online and supply the meat by trained staff.
More than 157,000 cattle, worth about Tk1,116 crore, have been sold through online since July 2, according to data from the DLS.
During July 2-7, around 26,000 heads of cattle were sold at an average of 4,384 animals per day while sales spiked during July 8-10, when 74,518 cattle were sold at a daily average of 25,000 animals per day.
Owners of small farm houses are worried about timely delivery of the orders due to traffic hassles and shortage of vehicles.
Afsar Ali, an online service provider, said on-time delivery a day before Eid is fraught with risks.
"Home delivery is convenient for the customers. But it is very difficult to provide cattle on time owing to heavy traffic," he said.
Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim told UNB that the government will arrange vehicles for the remote farmers if they seek the support for delivering their sold sacrificial animals.