According to the DLS, around 1.19 crore animals, including cattle, goats, sheep, and camels have been reared for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha
Cattle traders and farmers are already sceptical about brisk sales ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, given the ongoing strict lockdown.
Cattle sellers fear the lockdown may be extended, which may possibly put them at a loss this year.
“As Eid-ul-Azha is less than three weeks away, it is necessary to formulate a policy for seamless transportation of sacrificial animals as soon as possible,” they also said.
A cattle farmer from Manikganj said that he had reared two giant-sized bulls worth Tk2-3 lakh each and had planned to put them up for sale at a major cattle market such as the capital's Gabtoli area.
But if the lockdown is extended, he would not be able to commute to the market with his cattle, and all his investment would go down the drain, he feared.
“It will be a matter of labour and security to carry it to the capital. Everyone is in trouble because of the pandemic. If the situation does not improve, I have to lower the prices of my cattle, and sell them at a loss in our local market,” he added.
According to the Department of Livestock Services, around 1.19 crore animals, including cattle, goats, sheep, and camels have been reared for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha this year.
Among them, 46 lakh cows and 73 lakh goats and sheep have been reared.
Mohammad Aiyub Ali, a livestock farmer from Jessore, has readied up 20 cattle for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha.
He said that he has to spend at least Tk3,000 every day to feed and maintain the animals.
Shariful Islam, another farmer from Manikganj, said that he has prepared 15 cattle for sale, spending up to Tk1,500 each day for their maintenance.
Scores of farmers like them are still hoping for a miracle to sell their animals at good prices ahead of Eid.
Most of them invested from their personal savings, or borrowing capital from relatives and neighbours.
They also said that if they fail to make their anticipated sales this year, it would become very difficult to repay the loans, given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said that cattle rearing is one of the largest economic investments in Bangladesh's rural economy and a large number of people are dependent on it, especially on the Eid economy.
“Covid infection rate is soaring every day. The lockdown is necessary to break the circuit. Cattle farmers need not worry as there is almost three weeks before Eid-ul-Azha,” he also said.
He further mentioned that if the rate of infections comes under some control through strict lockdown, then the makeshift markets of sacrificial animals could be set up across the capital, maintaining strict health directives like last year.
Earlier, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock had said that the demand for sacrificial animals will be met through domestic production and discouraged importing animals from neighboring countries.
Sources say that 1.4 million domestic farms mainly rear cattle targeting the Eid-ul-Adha cattle market. But demand was low last year due to the pandemic and flood.
Last year, the country had observed Eid-ul-Azha in limited capacity due to the pandemic, after the government relaxed the lockdown and allowed shopping malls and public transports to resume on a limited scale.
According to the Department of Livestock Services, 1.19 crore sacrificial animals were prepared last year and 95 lakh were sacrificed.
The cattle market of Eid is worth Tk40,000-45,000 crore, said the sources.