2020-06-28 23:09:28 BdST
Cattle rearers in dire straits as pandemic hurts demand
Local cattle rearers are in a fix this year ahead of Eid-ul-Azha as the demand for farm animals dropped markedly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Eid-ul-ul Azha is set to be celebrated in the first week of August.
Cow rearers in Rangpur, Bogura, Pabna, Sirajganj, Tangail, Manikganj, Dhaka, Munshiganj, Narshingdi, Jhenaidah, Chuadanga, Kushtia, along with many other districts in the country have reared 5.5 million cows and 6.0 million of goats and sheep in their farms this year for the festival, according to Department of Livestock Services (DLS).
More than 0.52 million cattle farms in the country are now in peril due to the pandemic.
Mohammad Jakaria, co-owner of Taqwa Dairy Farm at Rayer Bazar-Beribadh in the city, told the FE that they rear local cows and most of the cattle get booked long before the Eid-ul-Azha festival.
“But this year only three cows have been booked out of 51”, he said.
“Income of our customers has fallen sharply due to the pandemic which is hurting our business this year”, said Jakaria.
It would be impossible to get back even our investment of Tk 3.0 million, he added.
Alimuzzaman Sheikh, owner of Ashirbad Cattle Farm at Palash in Narshingdi, told the FE that his farm reared 64 bulls of local variety at an investment of Tk 4.2 million.
Mr Sheikh said they sell animals to seasonal traders every year who send those to Dhaka and Chattogram.
“They are yet to contact us to book animals. They usually do that two to three months before the sacrificial festival”, he added.
He further said that the sales of animals for kitchen markets also dropped notably over the last three months.
Imran Hossain, president of Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association, said if the trend continues, they wouldn't be able to sell even 50 per cent of their livestock.
“Investments of hundreds of traders will get stuck and most of them are going to be defaulters”, he said, adding government should exempt interests on bank loans of the affected farmers for the survival of the sector.
Small scale farmers should be provided with direct cash subsidy for their survival, he further said.
DLS Director General Dr Abdul Jabbar Sikder said, “Local farms and farmers have reared 5.5 million cows for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha”.
He said marketing of those cattle will be the key challenge in next five weeks.
He said local DLS offices have been directed to support farmers with the marketing of their cattle.
DLS estimated that nearly 10.5 million cattle were slaughtered in the country last year, 50 per cent of which took place during the Eid-ul-Azha festival.
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