Special Correspondent: Dairy farmers around the country are worried as sacrificial cattle sales have yet to take traction due to the severe lockdown, which prevents non-essential businesses from opening until July 14.
Despite the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year, Alam Hossain decided to raise roughly 100 cattle on his property in Bakalipara village of Chirirbandar upazila in Dinajpur, in order to become self-sufficient.
As a result, in the last eight months, he has invested Tk 9 lakh. He was anticipating a substantial profit from sales in the run-up to the impending Eid-ul-Azha, believing that normalcy would return after a year.
However, his aspirations have been dashed by the latest country-wide lockdown aimed at combating the rise of coronavirus infections.
“Despite the fact that Eid is only ten days away,” Hossain remarked, “I have not been able to sell a single sacrificial animal.” His predicament does not end there.
He needs to spend Tk 13,000 each day on feed, and he will be responsible for the cost till the animals are sold.
Many farmers in eight districts of the Rangpur division, like Hossain, are experiencing nervous days as sacrificial cattle sales have yet to get traction due to the severe lockdown, which prevents non-essential enterprises from starting until July 14.
Farmers claim that the cost of raising cattle has increased by 40% in the previous six months due to increases in the price of fodder and labor costs.
Many families will avoid from sacrificing animals owing to the rapidly worsening pandemic and attendant economic difficulties, thus demand may be lower this year than it was a year ago.
As a result, many cattle may go unsold, with farmers bearing the brunt of the loss.
Rafiqul Islam of the Pushpita Dairy farm in Rangpur’s Akkelpur neighborhood offers 50 animals for sale.
On Sunday and Wednesday, he took several to a local cattle market but was unable to sell any since the prices given were considerably below his expectations.
He’s also displaying cattle for sale on the local livestock services department’s online market. However, he has yet to receive a call from a potential buyer.
“If the cows are not sold, I would lose Tk 20 lakh,” Islam added. Tk 50,000 is spent on the farm every month.
Shahadat Hossain of Rangpur’s Tantipara neighborhood spent all of his funds to raise five calves at his home.
“I will lose money because of the pandemic’s worsening,” he stated.
Buyers are offering prices that are Tk 15,000 to Tk 20,000 below expectations, according to Sofor Ali, who lives in the same region and claimed he had a similar experience around this time last year.
Traders from nearby districts start communicating with farmers a month before Eid to buy sacrificial animals, according to Jyotsna Begum, a cattle farmer in Daspara, Rangpur city.
“So far, there hasn’t been any communication from traders. Because there is an excess, local consumers alone will not be able to purchase all of the animals raised in the district “she stated.
On Thursday, Mohammad Ismail Hossain, director of the divisional livestock services department in Rangpur, stated, “Sales would take up after a week.”
In the eight districts of Rangpur, around 13 lakh sacrificial animals are available for purchase. According to him, the local demand is around 10 lakh.
Officials from the Rangpur and Dinajpur livestock services departments claim that sacrificial animals worth Tk 5 crore were sold online last year. This year, they anticipate comparable sales.
Rashid Mia, a Tantipara farmer, urged the authorities to keep vital cattle markets in the city operational maintaining health regulations.
“If the cattle don’t sell, I’ll lose a lot of money,” he remarked.
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