Eid-ul-Azha knocking at door
Golam Mostafa Jibon: As the cattle fatteners dreamt of a good profit by selling their fattened cattle with high prices ahead of upcoming Eid-ul-Azha just after relaxing of corona pandemic, the devastating flood hit hard at different parts of the country including Sylhet, Sunamganj and Sirajganj district has caused of huge damaged putting thousands of dairy farm owners at risk.
The cattle farmers fear that they will not get fair and appropriate prices of their sacrificial animals as well as most of the cattle will not be sold in the market like previous due to reduction of purchasing capacity of the buyers caused by devastating onslaught of recent floods.
On the other hand, abnormal price hike of cattle fodders has become another reason of sufferings to the farmers as they can’t purchase adequate fodders for their animals.
Though, the Livestock Department authorities claimed that, there are sufficient native animals in the country to meet the local demand, farmers apprehending that they will not be able to sell those animals, if flood situation is not improved immediately.
If the flood situation is more linger, cattle fatteners may face difficulties to sell their animals in several reasons including transportation problem.
Sources said, dairy farm ownersacross the country have fattened thousands of cattle this year like previous years with a view to earn good profit during the Eid-ul-Azha. But this year, before Eid, farmers are suffering from the fear of prolonged floods that hit already several parts of the country. Many of the flood hit people along with their domestic animals have taken shelter on different embankments,high roads and flood shelters as their homesteads and farms have submerged by the flood water. Due to lack of cattle fodders, they are now concern over the cattle health. Many are being forced to sell the sacrificial animals in different local markets with a lower price in the early stage before beginning of peak Eid market.
Some cattle farmers in Sirajganj, Sunamganj and Sylhet region told The Daily Industry that, “We are being forced to sell animals at lower prices as we can’t collect natural foods like grass due to submergeof pastures at places. On the other hand, the prices of artificial fodders have gone abnormally up ahead of Eid-ul-Azha. Besides, many animals are being infected with several diseases including foot and mouth infections. So the farmers are worried that they will not get fair prices at the Korbani market.”
Some flood hit farmers especially who live in shoal areas said, “We are being forced to sell our cattle in fear of robbery at night. Besides, the nuisance of snakes has increased abnormally at different flood affected areas. Meanwhile, many animals have died from snake bite.
Met office and Water Development Board office sources said, Last month, a pre-monsoon flash flood, triggered by an onrush of waters from upstream India’s northeastern states, hit Bangladesh’s northern and northeastern regions, destroying crops and damaging homes and road network in the low laying areas. People of different low laying areas including Sariakandi in Bogura, five upazilas of Sirajganj, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Nilphamari and Rangpur districts in northern region, around 94 percent of Sunamganj and over 84 percent of Sylhet region have submerged by the flood water.
According to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), the flood situation in Sylhet, Sunamganj and Netrakona districts may deteriorate further in the next 24 hours and the water level will continue to rise for the next three days. Experts considered the flood worse than the ones they had experienced in 1998 and 2004. The crisis struck at a time when the people of the division were recovering from unexpected recent floods that hit in late May. An estimated 4.3 million people are impacted by this sudden flash flood and water congestion in seven northeastern districts of Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulivazar, Habiganj, Netrakona and Brahmanbaria.
Relevant district administration sources said, many households have become displaced due to floods, while some have taken shelter under the open sky. The safety and security of women and children along with domestic animals in those households are at high risk.
Sources of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) said, “As many as 25,000 people have been taken to around 450 shelter centres in Sylhet; at the same time, 65,000 people were evacuated to 200 shelter centres in Sunamganj with a combined initiative of the Army, NAVY, Fire Service and the local authorities. But, relocation for the animals especially for the sacrificial animals has become very difficult due to lack of appropriate shelter.”
Seeking anonymity, an official said, flood shelters are set up at different places in the country with a view to protect human beings from disasters like floods and cyclones. But, country’s most of the flood shelters have no capacity to protect domestic animals or other animals. There is a large gap in the planning of the government in context of building shelter centers.
Abdul Quddus, a dairy farm owner in Baghabari of Shahzadpur in Sirajgnaj district said, “I hoped to increase the size of my farm by selling around 50 fattened cattle in the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha. But due to the ongoing floods,my dream has faded. There has been an acute shortage of cattle foods in the area. Not only Quddus, such frustration has now spread among the thousands of farmers in the country eve of the Eid.
Livestock Department sources said, the government has completed all the preparations for the upcoming holy Eid-ul-Azha with local animals. This year, there are 1,21,24,369 sacrificial animals, which is 2.8 lakh more than last year.
“The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is in a strict position to stop the import of cattle from outside the country as the demand for domestic animals is possible to meet with the native cattle.
There is enough stock of animals for sacrifice, so not a single animal from outside the country will come for sacrifice this year. The number of animals produced in the country may be surplus even after meeting the demand. One-tenth of the cattle produced in Korbani last year were not sold. Along with this, many livestock farmers have got suitable animals for the current year. It will be possible to meet the needs of the country’s farms and households with livestock, if any disaster like the recent flood is not got furious further,” said Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim.
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