Tanners and rawhide merchants expressed their apprehension of supply shortage
The country’s tanners may face rawhide shortage as some people who sacrificed animals on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha buried rawhide due to lower prices offered by the merchants.
Tanners and rawhide merchants expressed their apprehension of supply shortage as untoward incidents such as dumping rawhide and wasting them would weigh on their procurement targets.
It was learnt that in many areas people threw away hides because of lower prices, and lack of any buyers.
“In my 34 years experience, I never have seen such incidents --- burring hides or throwing away them. So supply shortage or reaching the target would be tough,” Hazi Hafizur Rahman, cashier of Bangladesh Hides and Skin Merchant Association (BHSMA), told Dhaka Tribune.
While the merchants assume that about 5% to 6% of skin and hide were wasted, the tanners’ representative estimate 1% or one lakh pieces of rawhide was wasted.
Tanners also echoed the merchants.
But the government claims the waste is 0.05% or about 10,000 pieces.
“Sacrificial hide is very important for the country’s leather industry as the quality of sacrificed animals hide and skin are better. Around 50% demand of raw hide is procured during the Eid-ul-Azha,” says Md Shakawat Ullah, general secretary of Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA).
Since some people buried hides and skin underground and wasted those, there will be a supply shortage to some extent, said Shakawat.
If one piece of hide is wasted, it is a shortage, he explains.
According to sector people, about 50% hides are collected from the sacrificial animals and this year about one crore animals were slaughtered on Eid-Ul-Azha.
Meanwhile, the country’s tanners set target of collecting 85 lakh pieces of hides this time.
Why low prices offered
Hide and skin merchants blamed the tanners for low prices of hides as the merchants did not pay dues of merchants ahead of Eid, creating cash crunch in the sector.
As a result, a good number of merchants were unable to buy hides and skin, triggering people to throw away or burry.
“We did not get our dues from the tanners before the Eid. As a result, a good number of merchants did not buy hides and skin from the people,” Hides and Skin Merchant Association of Chittagong president Abdul Kadir told Dhaka Tribune.
For lack of fund, merchants were forced to offer lower prices, leading people not to sell rather they dumped those, says Kadir.
"In the last year, we collected about 5.5 lakh pieces of hides and skin but as of today (Monday), it was nearly 4 lakh pieces," he mentions.
However, the tanners claim they are also facing fund shortage due to dull business and for bearing the relocation costs of their establishments from Hazaribagh to Savar.
“Due to the US-China trade war, the Chinese importers are not importing hides, while the global buyers are not placing orders due to non-compliance issue,” says Md Shakawat Ullah owner of M/s, Salma Tannery.
On the other hand, tanners cannot take loans from banks as they are yet to get their allocated land in Savar registered, says Shakawat.
Besides, hide merchants say the tanners did not pay their dues that resulted in inabilities for the merchant to buy rawhide at government set prices.
“I think, there is an evil motive behind the non-payment of dues,” seeking anonymity, a rawhide merchant says.
If they had paid a portion of dues, the crisis would not have happened, he argues.
According to hides and skin merchants, they owed about Tk400 crore to the tanners.
Bangladesh government set prices of per square feet salted cowhide and buffalo rawhide at Tk45-50 per square feet in Dhaka and at Tk35-40 in other districts.
On the other hand, the price of goat hide has been set at Tk18-20 and Tk13-15 for 'Baqra' goat hides across Bangladesh.
However, a cow hides was seen to sell at Tk100 to Tk120.