This photo shows a portion of Bhulta cattle market in Narayanganj on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
Cattle-laden trucks were also seen waiting to unload cows coming from different districts in front of the cattle markets
Amid the Covid-induced lockdown, traders from across the country have started arriving in the capital’s limited cattle markets bringing with them the sacrificial animals they hope to sell ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha festival.
During visits to several markets in the city, UNB found the number of cattle still low with traders asking high prices.
Haat leaseholders, however, hoped the arrival of cattle will gain momentum within the next few days as the Eid festival is still more than a week away.
Shah Alam, leaseholder of Shanir Akhra and Dania College field cattle market, said they have completed preparations so that everyone follows health guidelines to prevent Covid-19.
He said the number of cattle is now low due to the lockdown but the supply will rise in a couple of days.
The same scene was found at cattle market near Dholaikhal Terminal, Dhupkhola East and Club area, and Aftabnagar.
Cattle-laden trucks were also seen waiting to unload cows coming from different districts in front of the cattle markets.
Cattle trader Rahman told UNB that they reached the city earlier to avoid heavy traffic right before Eid.
He said the prices will be a little bit high as the cost of rearing animals and fodder were very high.
A visitor, Kamal Ahmed, said he had come to the cattle market at Donia College and adjacent open space at Jatrabari to assess the situation and prices.
Kamal said he found the prices higher than his expectation.
Trader Kamal from Kushtia has brought 17 sacrificial animals to the capital’s permanent cattle market Gabtoli.
With only a few buyers, he said, the business is yet to pick up but hoped it will improve with Eid approaching.
The price may be high as many traders may not bring animals this year.
Even though cattle can be bought online, there are people who still prefer the traditional physical purchase of the cattle of their choice.
Mustafa Mollah, a resident of Jatrabari, told UNB that finding cattle online is not appealing to him.
“It’s a matter of tradition. I want to buy a cow physically direct from a cattle market or any other place,” he said.
In 2020, the two city corporations in the capital invited tenders for 23 cattle markets but 20 cattle markets are finally going to be set up considering the pandemic.
Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) plans to set up cattle markets at Khilgaon Moitrisangha Club and its adjacent open spaces, the Institute of Leather Technology playground at Hazaribagh, Postogola cremation ground, Meradia Bazar and adjacent area, Donia College, and adjacent open spaces at Jatrabari, Dhupkhola East and Club adjacent open spaces, Dholaikhal Terminal adjacent open spaces, Aftabnagar Eastern Housing E Block, Rahmatganj Club adjacent open space at Lalbagh, and Golapbagh DSCC Market adjacent open spaces.
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) invited tenders for markets at Uttara Sector 1, Bhatara (Sayeednagar), Kaula Shiyaldanga, Purbachal Bridge, Uttarkhan Moinartek, Shahidnagar Housing, Bhashantek Road, Aftabnagar, Uttara Sector 15, Mirpur Section 6 (Eastern Housing and Dhaka Polytechnic Institute playground).
The permanent markets are in DNCC’s Gabtoli and DSCC’s Sarulia areas.
Meanwhile, the farmers who have big size cattle are worried as they are not getting much response this time.
Birbahadur (1,400kg) and Rajbababu from Zhennaidh and Samrat (1,200kg) from Faridpur are among the big ones.
Farmer Atiar Rahman is asking Tk10 lakh for the 10-foot long and five-foot-wide Ox “Birbahadur” in Jhenaidah while Mohammad Hossain is charging Tk30 lakh for his Rajababu in the same district.
Atiar said he is still worried whether it will be sold or not this time. “We didn’t find any customer or trader interested in buying the animals. This is very frustrating for me,” Mohammad Hossain said.
Online sales boom
Many people are choosing cattle from online platforms to avoid Covid infections.
Some are also selling through social media platforms that are not included in the data of the Department of Livestock Services (DSL).
According to DSL data, more than 105,000 lakh cattle (Tk737 crore), have been sold online since July 2,
During July 2-7, around 26,000 heads of cattle were sold at an average of 4,384 animals per day, while sales spiked on July 8-10, when 74,518 cattle were sold at an average of 25,000 animals a day.
But more than 27,000 sacrificial animals were sold through the digital market last year.
Local Government and Rural Development Minister Tajul Islam has recently inaugurated the site – https://digitalhaat.net/.
The site is run by the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh or e-CAB and the Bangladesh Dairy Farm Association under the DNCC.
The target is to sell 100,000 cattle through the site, which will keep around 500,000 people off physical cattle markets.
Digital Haat, which features 32 online platforms and 10 farmers so far, has sold around 200 cows and goats as of Sunday since its opening on July 4.
Dhaka-based 700 cattle farms are preparing 10,000 cattle for this year while 60% to 70% have already been booked, they said.
On average 1,800,000 sacrificial animals are sold in the city, according to Dairy Farmers’ Association.