As many as 259,000 animals have been reared for Eid-ul-Adha in Sirajganj and Nilphamari
With Eid ul Adha just around the corner, cattle farmers in Sirajganj and Nilphamari are dreading huge losses anticipating a slump in demand for sacrificial animals due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Higher cattle feed prices is also a big concern for farmers in the districts as it will cut into their profits substantially.
As many as 259,000 animals have been reared for Eid ul Adha in the two districts, report our correspondents quoting Livestock officials of their respective districts.
But cattle traders who reared their animals targeting Eid, said the number of customers in rural cattle markets is poor. This is unusual just one month ahead of Eid.
Meat traders from Dhaka and Chittagong are also not thronging the districts like every year to purchase their livestock due to fears of coronavirus infection.
Golzar Hossain, a cattle farmer of Shahjadpur upazila in Sirajganj said: "I have reared 8 bulls at a cost of Tk16 lakh, targeting Eid. I could not sell a single bull yet, due to a crisis in customers."
"On top of that, I am currently spending Tk 350 to 400 for each bull a day,” he added.
Another farmer, Abdus Samad Fakir, said: "I have raised three oxen despite the price of fodder that has increased this year. But I might lose money to the coronavirus pandemic as we are not getting customers."
Sirajganj Livestock Officer Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman said it is logical that farmers are worrying about the sale of their livestock due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "We are trying to conduct cattle markets in the district maintaining social distancing rules.
"I hope farmers will be able to sell their animals and make a profit," he also added.
Deputy Commissioner Faruk Ahmed said they are encouraging farmers to sell their livestock online since customers and cattle traders will hardly maintain social distancing rules in the markets.
Many households have also raised cows, sheep and goats, keeping the second largest religious festival of the Muslims in mind in Nilphamari.
Mokbul Hossain and Mottaleb Hossain from Dimla upazila said they bought calves from the market and raised them targeting Eid ul Adha. " Farmers have spent a lot of money fattening the animals, feeding them green maize, grass, molasses and rice husk, for months."
But, due to the customer crisis, the demand for sacrificial animals has declined in the markets which may cause them losses, the cattle raisers added.
Nilphamari Livestock Officer Md Monakka Ali said 59,000 sacrificial animals have been reared ahead of Eid ul Adha in the district.