As Eid-ul-Azha approaches, online cattle market becomes popular in remote Saidpur upazila of the northern district as this practice ensures maintenance of health rules and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many buyers even from other areas including Rangpur city are giving order online for buying sacrificial animals as local officials of government livestock department verify health status of each animal before sale and issues health certificate, inscribing age, variety, weight and other information of the animal.
The pioneer of online cattle market in the area is Jamil Ashraf Mintu, 38, of Banshbari area in Saidpur upazila town.
Instead of looking for jobs, the educated youth set up a cattle farm named 'Yousuf Dairy and Cattle Fattening Farm' on own land with four oxen in 2012.
Now there are 302 oxen and bulls in Mintu's farm and he has gained trust of buyers as his animals raised for sacrificial purposes are purely of local variety and those are reared naturally, feeding grass, bran, straw etc.
Steroids and hormones are never used in his farm.
Mintu said, "Buyers choose cattle through video call with smartphone and the livestock department's certificate makes them confident as we sent its photo to customer's Facebook messenger."
"After settling the animal's price, we receive the money in advance through online banking and make the delivery of animals with our own transport," he added.
By this time, 105 oxen have already been sold online from his farm although the Eid-ul-Azha is still three weeks away.
Dewan Kamal Ahmed, mayor of Nilphamari municipality, who purchased an ox from there online, said, "They also agreed to keep the animal in the farm for taking care till the Eid day for a small amount of service charge, which is an additional privilege."
Afsana Rahman, 45, owner of Rabeya cattle fattening farm of Kamarpukur area, said online cattle trading is useful for both buyers and sellers as it could be performed without coming in physical contact in unusual days of coronavirus pandemic.
Dr Md Rashedul Huque, Saidpur upazila livestock officer, said, "We provide all out support to promote online cattle market for ensuring health rules during the Covid-19 situation."
To create customers' confidence, we issue health certificates of sacrificial animals after being sure that they are disease-free and reared in natural procedure, he added.