Although more than enough sacrificial animals are ready at their farms for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha, farmers in Jashore are worried whether they will find the money back they invested in cattle rearing as the Covid-19 pandemic clouded the prospect of their sale.
Officials at the Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Jashore said some 67,975 sacrificial animals are ready for the Eid at 10,282 farms against the demand of 60,500.
There will be no scarcity as there are 7,500 more animals against the demand, they said.
This year, 24 cattle markets will be set up in different parts of the district following health guidelines of the government.
Some local cattle traders said they have reared their animals throughout the year investing huge money so that they can make some profit during the Eid.
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Traders, mostly from Barishal, Noakhali, Bhola and Khulna, usually throng the cattle farms in the district two months ahead of Eid for purchasing cattle but this year the scenario is quite different due to coronavirus, said farmers.
Eid-ul-Azha is only a few weeks away but traders from other districts are yet to come here, they said.
Mohabbat Hossain, a cattle farmer of Raipur in Bagharpara upazila, said, “Having 120 cows in stock, I’ve an expectation to sell 80 of them but this time the situation has changed. My worry is I might have to count losses in each cow for lack of traders.”
The customers or traders are showing reluctance about visiting haat-bazaars due to the worsening virus situation, he said adding, “That’s why the cattle prices are much lower than that of the previous year.”
Besides, the number of animal sacrificing might also come down due to fall in purchasing capacity of people, said Mohabbat.
Zahirul Islam, another farmer of Bahadurpur area in Sadar upazila, said, “Two or three traders have visited my farm but the prices they offered for my cattle are not acceptable to me. Fodder price is also high and that obviously adds to our woes.”
Raju, another farmer of the area, said, “I usually rear 15-20 cows each year for Eid but this year I’ve eight cows for selling but I’m worried about having fair price.”
Shaheen Alam, owner of Dafadar Dairy Farm at Muragacha village in Manirampur upazila, said, “There’re 50 bulls in my farm and the prices range from Tk 50,000 to Tk 80,000 as per the size. This year no trader from other districts is contacting me. I’m a little bit worried over the situation.”
Asmat Ali Gyne, another farmer of Manirampur upazila, who is well-known for his two big size cows --‘Banglar Boss’ and ‘Banglar Samrat’ ---, said, “I expect to sell the two big cows at Tk 80 lakh. Besides, eight more cows are available in my farm for selling.”
“I’ve not yet seen any retail traders though Eid-ul-Azha is getting closer. I’m also worried about bank loan I’ve taken for rearing cows,” he said.
Shafiul Alam, a livestock official at District DLS, said “There’s no scarcity of sacrificial animals this time. The sale of cattle usually starts 10-12 days ahead of Eid-ul-Azha. I think there’s enough time. The farmers here are concerned about getting back the money they spent on rearing their cows due to the pandemic.”
He, however, said necessary steps will be taken to ensure social distancing in the cattle markets.