Cattle markets in city: Buyers increasing, prices still high
The sale of sacrificial animals gathered pace in the capital's cattle markets two days before the Eid-ul-Azha yesterday, although traders were charging higher prices compared to last year.
However, many traders are worried about incurring losses if there are not enough customers at the cattle markets as a good number of animals have already been sold online. Besides, many will not sacrifice animals this year due to loss of income amid the pandemic.
There was a good supply of animals, especially cows and bulls, at the city's 19 cattle markets.
"I have bought a bull for Tk 72,500. A bull of the same size was sold for about Tk 52,000 last year," said Iftekhar Zaman, a resident of Gendaria, who purchased the sacrificial animal early this time fearing there might be a crisis of the animals at the last moment like last year.
He said though the number of bulls is good in the Dhupkhola cattle market, traders are not selling those at reasonable prices.
Prices of each bull were higher by Tk 10,000 to Tk 50,000 than the previous year, depending on size.
Mohammad Hannan Mollah, a trader from Faridpur, said he brought 18 bulls to Sadeque Hossain Khoka playground cattle market and sold two of them with a small profit. He said the number of cattle in different markets is almost double this year compared to last year.
"Cattle could not be sold outside Dhaka on the occasions of different social programmes, including marriage ceremonies, due to the pandemic. That's why farmers have brought such a lot of animals to Dhaka."
He said it would be really tough for traders to sell all the bulls if there were not enough buyers.
Another trader Tofazzal Hossain Tofa has brought 22 bulls from Kushtia to the capital's Kachukhet cattle market. He said they had to purchase bulls from rural cattle markets at higher prices due to an increased competition from traders. The number of traders has gone up this year as many made a good profit in this trade last year, he added.
Golam Mostafa, who brought a bull weighing 22 maunds to Dhupkhola cattle market, said he was asking Tk 9.5 lakh for the bull, but was ready to sell it for Tk 8 lakh. He said no customer was showing interest in buying the animal.
The number of customers for big bulls are less, but the demand for small and mid-sized bulls is high, he added.
"I have brought a bull to Dhaka for the first time this year, but I am not getting any response from customers. If the situation remains unchanged, I will not come here anymore," said Mostafa who reared the bull for around three and a half years.
As the demand for cattle has increased on digital platforms, many traders sold their bulls online and brought only a few to the cattle markets in the capital.
"I have reared 39 bulls at my farm and sold 23 of them online. The rest 16 have been brought to Sadeque Hossain Khoka field," said Mohammad Abdul Mannan, proprietor of Zamana Agro.
Alamgir Hossain, a resident of Gendaria, said he sacrificed a bull last year, but he cannot afford sacrificing one this year due to losses in business amid the pandemic.
"I am now thinking of relocating to my village home to cut my living expenses," said Alamgir who lives in a flat for a monthly rent of Tk 21,000.
According to statistics of the Department of Livestock Services, 3.18 lakh sacrificial animals, mostly cows and bulls, were sold online across the country till Sunday. Of them, 42,514 were sold in Dhaka.
About 1.19 crore sacrificial cattle are reared each year on average for slaughtering during the Eid-ul-Azha. Last year, over 1.1 crore animals were slaughtered during the religious festival across the country.
HEALTH SAFETY RULES IGNORED
The government's call for maintaining health guidelines at the cattle markets seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
Issuing a circular on Tuesday, the government had instructed the market authorities to check the visitors' body temperature at the entrances, make arrangement for washing hands and set up disinfectant chambers.
It said the markets must have separate entry and exit points to enable one-way movement of buyers and avoid crowding.
Visiting the cattle markets in Gabtoli, Kochukhet, Dhupkhola, Sadeque Hossain Khoka playground, and Kachukhet, The Daily Star found that none of these instructions was being followed.
The entry of elderly people and children to the markets were supposed to be restricted. But many people aged below 18 and above 60 were seen moving in and around markets.
The only exception was the cattle market in Eastern Housing area of Mirpur. The market authorities were seen ensuring the enforcement of health safety rules, including wearing masks and checking body temperature.
Meanwhile, a mobile court of Dhaka North City Corporation yesterday fined the lessee of Gabtoli Cattle Market Tk 10 lakh for not maintaining health safety rules at the market.
The mobile court was operated during a visit to the market by DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam, said an official of the city corporation.