The sale of sacrificial animals in Dhaka's makeshift cattle markets are gearing up as customers throng the different markets to collect their animals on the last day before Eid-ul-Azha on Friday.
On a visit to three cattle markets in Gabtoli, Basila in Mohammadpur, and Aftabnagar, Dhaka Tribune correspondents found a mad rush of customers, though most were waiting for further price cuts at the eleventh hour.
The rush picked up from Friday morning, but cattle sellers said it would intensify further in the afternoon and continue till early Saturday morning.
Despite the rush, the sellers are reluctant to drop prices while the customers hold out hope for prices to fall further, resulting in slower cattle sales.
“I have been looking for a cow priced around Tk40,000, but it seems a bit difficult to get one at my desired price, since sellers are reluctant to sell the cows,” Sajanur Rahman Rajan, who came from Adabar to the Basila market, told the Dhaka Tribune on Friday morning.
“They are asking for Tk50,000 to Tk65,000 for mid-size cows. Seems like there is no cow at a lower price for middle-income people,” he added.
This year, most of the animals seem to have been reared at home. At Basila, most cattle are from Manikganj, Savar, Jamalpur, Keraniganj, and neighbouring areas.
Liakat Ali, a cattle trader from Manikganj, is asking for Tk80,000 for a cow that weighs 100kg and Tk92,000 for one that weighs 150kg. He will sell the 100kg cow at Tk70,000, but customers refuse to offer more than Tk55,000 to Tk60,000.
“We spent a lot of money on the cows. The customers are offering far too low prices just as they had last year. I have three cows left, but will not sell them at the lower prices,” he said, adding that most customers are still surveying the market.
“People are coming everyday and asking for prices. They may make their final decision today, and it would result in a mad rush from afternoon,” he added.
Cows priced between Tk40,000 to Tk80,000 are in most demand, cow traders said. People have a preference for local cattle rather than cattle from Myanmar or India.
When asked, Lutfar Rahman, the lessee of Gabtoli cattle market, said that the supply of cattle in Dhaka is sufficient and has been rising further with cattle-laden trucks continuing to arrive in the capital.
“Many cattle are still on the highways and may arrive by this afternoon,” he added.
In the Aftabnagar market, buyers too expressed their discontent as sellers are yet to cut prices despite the higher number of cattle in the market.
Ilias Sarker came to Aftabnagar from Rajshahi with 13 cows, out of which six were sold as of Friday morning.
“The price has not been lowered enough as expected. The price may go up in the last moment,” he said.
Ashraf Uz Zaman from Lalmatia came to Gabtoli market with a budget of Tk1,20,000 for two cows at around 11am on Friday.
“I bought one at Tk76,000 around 12:30pm. But it has been very difficult to buy another one with the rest of my budget. If they do not drop the price, I will come again in the afternoon.”
In Dhaka, 19 authorised makeshift markets have been built this year, in addition to Gabtoli's permanent cattle market.