fear huge loss
Mahfuz Emran:About Tk 500 billion sacrificial cattle market in deep crisis due to the shutdown announced by the government for 7-day for the increase of covid-19 pandemic. Bangladesh also witnessed ever highest 143 casualties yesterday for the coronavirus infection.
There are about 12.5 million livestock rearers in the country prepares about 12 million cattles for the qurbani but they are in fear of selling scope in the market due to the restriction. Rather the price of cattle could be cheaper, which may not cover the rearing cost.
The situation has triggered uncertainty over economic activities involving the cattle market and leather industry as well as refrigerator, and spice markets worth around Tk 500 billion centering the second largest national festival of Bangladesh.
Experts say the lockdown is necessary to contain the spread of Covid-19 infections, but it will not be possible to make up for the huge losses caused by it. They have advised the government to strengthen the supply system as well as provide cash for the people.
Ahsan H Mansur, Executive Director of Policy Research Institute told the loss must be accepted for the sake of saving lives. He said the supply chain needs to be smoothened so that cattle owners do not face huge losses.
According to the Department of Livestock Services, around 12 million animals have been reared keeping Eid-ul-Adha in sight this year. Those include 4.6 million cows and 7.3 million goats and sheep.
Many people have suffered income losses due to the pandemic. Many middle-class people who sacrifice animals during Eid-ul-Adha may not do so this year. Livestock rearers are afraid that if animal sales fall, prices will also go down. The government’s decision to impose a strict lockdown has fuelled their fear.
The farm owners targets Tk 450 billion cattle sales centring only the Eid-ul-Adha. If the Covid-19 situation does not become normal, the number of animals that will be sacrificed will decrease. It will also affect other related sectors.
Leather sector insiders said more than 15 million rawhides are collected in the country every year and about 80 percent of it comes from sacrificial animals.
They said the rawhide market size is more than Tk100 billion, including a Tk 50 billion main leather market. If the pandemic situation does not improve, the future of millions of people associated with this huge economy will be uncertain, they added.
Shahin Ahmed, president of the Bangladesh Tanners Association, said there is a stock of unsold leather worth Tk 6 billion in tanneries due to the lack of demand in the market. If the situation does not return to normalcy, it will be difficult for tannery owners to buy new leather, he added.
The spice market also has a stake in this economy. The demand for onion in the country is 22 lakh tonnes every year while it is five lakh tonnes for garlic and three lakh tonnes for ginger.
A significant portion of these items is sold during Eid-ul-Adha. A huge amount of other spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin, and bay leaf are also sold during this festival. There is a Tk 50 billion market for these products during Eid-ul-Adha, sources say.
Ismail, a spice trader in the capital’s Karwan Bazar, said a large amount of these spices is sold during Eid. Sales were much lower last year due to the pandemic and it would also be the same due to the strict lockdown this time, he added.
The refrigerator market has been growing in the country for the last several years. At present, it has crossed Tk 60 billion. During Eid-ul-Adha, sales of refrigerators and deep freezers also increase. But the strict lockdown has worried refrigerator manufacturers.
Chief executive officer of the refrigerator division of Walton Refrigerators, which has a 70 percent market share, said Eid-ul-Adha accounts for about 40 percent of total sales.
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