Seasonal traders, engaged in rawhide business centring the Eid-ul-Azha, face huge losses this year too as only a small number of buyers are showing up at the markets in Tangail and offering very low prices for the items.
In last year also, they had to incur losses due to fall of demand of rawhides.
Pakutia in Ghatail upazila is one of the biggest rawhide markets in the country.
The seasonal traders, mostly dealing with relatively small amounts, from different places in Tangail and nearby districts including Mymensingh, Sherpur, Jamalpur, Sirajganj, Bogura, Kurigram and Netrakona came to Pakutia at the night before Sunday, the second market day after the Eid, for selling their purchased rawhides.
Some of the traders piled up their rawhides beside Tangail-Mymensingh highway as the market area could not accommodate all of the items.
A small number of buyers from different tanneries, mostly small ones, and their local agents and brokers who came to the district's markets since the afternoon of the Eid day purchased the large-sized and best quality rawhides for nominal prices while small and medium-sized hides remained unsold, market sources said.
Seasonal rawhide trader Habib Millat came to Pakutia market from Sirajganj with 657 pieces of cowhides.
"I have bought the large-sized cowhides for Tk 300 to Tk 400 each and later spent Tk 200 to Tk 250 for each to process, carry and maintain the items. But the buyers are offering Tk 370 to Tk 430 for these," he said.
Md Swapan Miah of Ishwarganj of Mymensingh came to the market with 900 pieces of cowhides.
"The buyers are offering Tk 200 and Tk 550 for each of my medium and large-sized of rawhides respectively but the cost for purchasing, preserving, carrying and maintenance is much more. I am worried as I borrowed money from others for the trade," he said.
Seasonal traders Shahidul Islam of Muktagachha in Mymensingh and Dulal Chandra Rishi of Tangail had similar tales to tell.
The condition of traders who came to the market with goat hides is even worse as there is hardly any buyer for the item.
Mintu Rishi came to the market with 160 pieces of goat hides after buying these for Tk 20 to Tk 30 each. A buyer offered him Tk 400 for the 160 hides, making Mintu speechless.
Tannery owners Nayeem Biswas, Bappi Majumder and Liakat Ali from Dhaka said they are also victims of the situation.
The international buyers are not taking hides from Bangladesh due to low prices of the item at the markets of different countries including Brazil, China and India amid the adverse global economic situation, they said.
"The rawhides we purchased in the last couple of years are still at the godowns as we could not sell these. Then why should we purchase more hides for high prices? It is difficult for us to survive without government support," said a tannery owner.
"Last year more than four lakh rawhides were brought to Pakutia market and buyers purchased those at very low prices. This year the number is less than half," said Abir Hossain Sajib, one of leaseholders of the market.
"We fear we cannot earn half of the money that we paid to take lease of the traditional rawhide market," said Emdadul Haque Khan Bhulu, another leaseholder.