Livestock farmers in Chapainawabganj have entire herds of cattle they intend to sell for slaughter ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, despite being in the news recently for being crippled by COVID-19.
Officials at the district Livestock Department said around 1.5 lac sacrificial animals are ready to be sacrificed in the district for Eid-ul-Azha.
They are expecting to supply those to other districts after fulfilling local demand, they said.
The farmers of the district told UNB that there is no need to bring sacrificial animals from the other side of the border keeping in mind the Covid-19 situation, as they are confident that the homegrown cattle would be enough to meet the demand.
They also demanded the authorities concerned take steps to halt smuggling of cattle from India to ensure fair prices for local farmers.
Livestock farmers are now busy nurturing cattle in more than 13,000 cattle farms in the district. The financial health of these farms depends to a great extent on good sales for Eid ul Azha.
Local livestock officer doctor Mostafizur Rahman confirmed the numbers to UNB.
“The total demand of cattle for slaughter in the district is no more than 1.04 lac, but more than 1.5 lac cattle are ready in the district,” he said. That means the farmers plan to sell almost 50,000 cattle to other parts of Bangladesh.
Eid ul Azha is expected to be celebrated in around a fortnight's time in Bangladesh, depending on the sighting of the moon. The country is currently in the midst of a strict lockdown due to Covid-19. But Chapainawabganj has been in lockdown from the last week of May, when cases started shooting up in the district after the Delta variant of the virus, then known simply as the Indian variant, was detected in multiple patients in the frontier district.
In this situation the cattle farmers may face some extra bottlenecks in transporting the cattle to different parts of the country. They may possibly take a leaf out of the mango farmers in the district, another thriving trade in the district.
While lockdown was imposed in Chapainawabganj, the 'seasonal mango business' was exempted from the restrictions, allowing for the region's famous mangoes to be enjoyed by the entire country, and the farmers to do a roaring trade in the seasonal fruit. Even buyers from outside the district were allowed to go in and buy mangoes.
Whether cattle farmers can benefit from a similar directive remains to be seen.
In the latest numbers, the Covid-19 situation has been improving somewhat in the district. On July 3 the district reported 61 new cases.