Cattle import from Myanmar appears to be unaffected by the Rohingya refugee crisis, with a regular influx of cattle from the neighbouring country despite strained diplomatic ties.
In one week at the beginning of this month, cattle import through the Shahparir Dwip corridor at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border saw an unprecedented surge.
Hundreds of cows, goats and buffaloes are seen crossing the Naf River every day into Bangladesh. In the last seven days, the import numbers have crossed all records, according to Teknaf Land Port officials.
Traders at the port however, are saying the prices of cattle are still quite high. Buyers and sellers are saying the Indian ban on export of cows is behind the surge and the high price.
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Traders taking away cows from Myanmar that they bought from the border at Teknaf's Shahparir Dwip Dhaka Tribune
This correspondent visited the Shahparir Dwip island, where traders said that Myanmar was eager to take advantage of the Indian ban.
Salim Ullah, a cow trader from Teknaf, said: “On the last day at least 2,000 cows and buffaloes came through this port and in the last week around 10,000 animals came here.”
But the prices are a little high, he added.
Mojaher Alam, another cow trader, said: “The price is higher than usual, but there is also a high demand for animals from Myanmar across the country.”
Teknaf Land Port Customs Officer Jahangir Hossain said the cow import had almost stopped at the beginning of the Rohingya crisis last year.
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Cows await buyers at Shahparir Dwip at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border Dhaka Tribune
“But it has bounced back now, especially because of the Indian ban, which has created a high demand for cows from Myanmar,” he said.
The official added that the port's revenue had increased significantly.
“In March, 11,665 cows came through the port. This gave us Tk58.33 lakh in customs revenue,” he said.
Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Kamal Hossain said the trade had nothing to do with the refugee crisis.
“We cannot stop the trade. That will hold the nation back and harm the economy. Bangladesh is trying to solve the Rohingya issue with Myanmar diplomatically,” he said.
“I believe we can maintain good trade relations with Myanmar. Not just cattle, there will be all kinds of goods coming and going through the land port,” he added.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune