Huge number of sacrificial animals in the markets, but fewer buyers
One of the largest animal markets in the south-western part of the country is Baghachhara Satmail Haat in Sharsha upazila of Jessore. The lease price of the Haat is about Tk five crore per year.
Before the outbreak of coronavirus, more than five thousand cows and buffaloes were bought and sold at every market in the district. But this year the scenario is quite different. Only 100 to 150 are expected to be sold.
The animal traders and farmers are fearing massive financial losses, at every market, even the leaseholder of the Baghachara Satmail cattle market is worried.
Eid-ul-Azha is only two weeks away. But traders from other districts are yet to come here, they said.
Officials at the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) in Jessore said this year, the cattle will be sold by online markets in different parts of the district due to the coronavirus.
At least 13 permanent cattle markets are also running businesses in different parts of the district following health guidelines of the government.
Some 67,975 sacrificial animals are ready for the Eid at 10,282 farms against the demand of 60,500.
Although more than enough sacrificial animals are ready at farms for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha, farmers are worried whether they will get back the money they invested in cattle rearing as the Covid-19 pandemic clouded the prospects of their sales, said sources.
Traders, mostly from Barisal, Noakhali, Bhola, and Khulna, usually throng the cattle farms in the district two months ahead of Eid for purchasing cattle but this year the scenario is quite different due to coronavirus, said farmers.
Akram Hossain, a cattle farmer of Raipur in Bagharpara upazila, said: “Having 130 cows in stock, I had the expectation to sell 90 of them but the situation has changed.”
The customers or traders are showing reluctance about visiting haat-bazaars due to the worsening virus situation, he said adding: “That’s why the cattle prices are much lower than that of the previous year.”
Besides, the number of animal sacrifices might also come down due to fall in purchasing capacity of people, said Akram.
Zahirul Islam, another farmer of Bahadurpur area in Sadar upazila, said: “Two or three traders have visited my farm but the prices they offered for my cattle are not acceptable to me. Fodder price is also high and that obviously adds to our woes.”
Raju, another farmer of the area, said: “I usually rear 15-20 cows each year for Eid but this year I’ve eight cows for sale but I’m worried about getting a fair price.”
Shaheen Alam, owner of Dafadar Dairy Farm at Muragacha village in Manirampur upazila, said: “There are 50 bulls in my farm and the prices range from Tk 50,000 to Tk 80,000 as per the size. This year no trader from other districts is contacting me. I’m a little worried over the situation.”
Shafiul Alam, a livestock official at District DLS, said: “There is no scarcity of sacrificial animals this time. The sale of cattle usually starts 10-12 days ahead of Eid-ul-Azha. I think there is enough time.”