Buyers and sellers crowd the Mahasthan cattle market in Bogura on Wednesday defying the government-set health guideline to curb the coronavirus spread. — Focus Bangla news

Farmers fear huge losses due to growing uncertainties over the sale of cattle ahead of the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha with the authorities considering the maintenance of health rules a big challenge in the Covid situation.

Transportation of sacrificial cattle from one place to another during the ongoing restrictions would be difficult for farmers while management of cattle markets following the government-set health guidelines would be a challenge for authorities concerned, according to farmers and officials.

Officials said maintaining physical distancing, wearing masks and using hand-sanitisers would be impossible in the cattle markets.

Bangladesh Dairy Farmers Association general secretary Shah Emran said that they are worried as the ongoing restrictions on public movement and businesses had been extended by a week until July 14.

‘If the ongoing restriction is further extended, the farmers will incur huge losses as they will not be able to take sacrificial animals to cattle the market due to lack transports,’ said Shah Emran.

He also said that around 50 per cent cattle at farms in places adjacent to Dhaka had already been sold but he did not know about the situation in other places.

Abdullah Omar Shaikh, owner of Quality Agro Farm at Aminbazar area in Mirpur said, ‘A total of 80 cattle are in my stock, of which 20 are sold already. If the ongoing lockdown is extended further, I will face huge losses,’ said Abdullah.

‘We have our Facebook pages but people are interested in visiting the farm to buy cattle,’ Abdullah added.

Livestock department officials in Sirajganj, a major source of sacrificial animal supply, said a total of 2,25,000 sacrificial animals were prepared for Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest religious festivals of Muslims.

Mohammad Ali, owner of Mohammad Ali and brothers Farm at Sirajganj said that he could not make a profit in the past year due to the Covid crisis and he expressed fear that this year will be the same.   

‘We prepared 50 bulls this year and hope to sell those in Fatullah in Narayanganj district. If the lockdown extended, we will not get the expected prices,’ said Mohammad Ali.

Dhaka North City mayor Atiqul Islam on Wednesday  said, ‘The government high-ups will take the decision whether the makeshift cattle markets would finally be to allowed ahead of Eid.’

Meanwhile, a cattle market at Galachipa under Patuakhali district was closed down on Saturday a day after it opened for violating health rules.

Public health expert Rashid-e-Mahbub told New Age that it would be almost impossible to maintain health rules in the cattle markets.

According to Kushtia animal resource office around 1,50,000 sacrificial animals were prepared in more than 16 thousand farms at six upazilas in the district.

Besides, marginal farmers in the district reared one and a half lakh more sacrificial animals.

Dhaka South City Corporation and Dhaka North City Corporation on May 24 invited tenders for 23 makeshift cattle markets in the capital city to facilitate buying and selling of sacrificial animals on the occasion of Eid-ul Adha this year.

Besides, the two permanent cattle markets, the DSCC invited tender for 13 and the DNCC for 10 cattle markets under their jurisdiction, according to the officials.

DSCC public relations officer Abu Nasher said that 10 out of 13 makeshift cattle markets have already been finalised.

‘Three more will be finalised soon,’ Abu added.

However, the government is encouraging people to buy sacrificial animals online.

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