Amdadul Haque: Farmers raising sacrificial cattle for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha are worried that prices of the animals will be low if the Covid-19 pandemic situation prevails.
The Eid will be celebrated after a month, and therefore, preparations have been started to set up sacrificial animal markets all over the country in compliance with health rules amid the coronavirus situation.
Farmers and traders have completed all kinds of preparations. However, the farmers are worried about getting a fair price as the supply of sacrificial animals this year is more than the usual demand. And if cows come from the neighboring country, farmers feel they will be severely affected.
According to the Department of Livestock, there will be no crisis of sacrificial animals like that last year. Rather, the supply will be more than the demand.
In 2018, the demand for sacrificial animals was 1 crore 5 lakh. Last year the demand was 1 crore 11 lakh. The Department of Livestock thinks that the demand will not increase this year in the coronavirus situation.
This time, around 1 crore 18 lakh heads of cattle can be provided for sacrifice. In other words, there is more supply than demand. The survey is being conducted as in every year. Once the survey is over, full supply and demand information will be available.
Farmers fear that if the current situation hangs on, they will not be able to sell the animals, and thus incur huge losses.
While talking, some cattle farmers of Moulvibazar, Sylhet, Tangail, Pabna, Sirajganj, and Dhaka expressed their deep concern over the high prices of cow feed and uncertainty of COVID-19 situation. They are also scared about their investment in this sector and apprehend if the present situation prolongs, they will have to face huge losses.
Khaled Hossain, owner of a cattle farm in Sylhet said, I have invested a lot of money to fatten 30 cows naturally for sale this Eid-ul-Azha.
“But I don’t know whether they will be sold because people’s financial condition is not good in the corona situation. This time the sacrifice may be less. Besides, there is a lot of supply of sacrificial animals in the country. As a result, I am worried about getting a fair price,” he added.
According to the Department of Livestock Services (DLS), about 1.10 crore cattle are needed as sacrificial animals for Eid-ul-Azha in the country every year. The demands for sacrificial animals have been met with the country’s domestic animals for the last three years, after a serious crisis following export ban by neighbouring India, official sources said.
Asked about this, the Director General of the Department of Livestock, Dr Abdul Jabbar Sikder said, “the demand for sacrificial animals from domestic sources has been met for several years. Last year, there was a supply of 1 crore 18 lakh animals against the demand of 1 crore 11 lakh animals.”
Regarding the high price of cattle feed, he replied, “Various varieties of grass have been developed to solve the problem of cattle feed. So, farmers can rely on grass without putting too much emphasis on granular food.”
Registered cattle farmers were 4.73 lakh in 2018 and over 5.77 lakh in 2019 across the country, he added.
According to Dr Sikder, a total of 11,788,563 sacrificial animals were prepared for last year’s Eid-ul-Azha. Of them, 2,733,665 were cows, 88,448 buffaloes, 1,753,672 goats, 256,038 sheep and 6,563 other animals like camels and dumba (fat-tailed sheep) readied for sacrificial purposes under the fattening programme for Eid-ul-Azha in commercial farms. The rest of the sacrificial animals included 15,46,360 non-productive cows and buffaloes and 52,73,858 goats and sheep.
He further said “many farms are working on small and big projects for the production of domestic cows and goats around this Eid-ul-Azha. Besides, many more small and big farms have been set up at private initiative.”
The number of cows, goats and buffaloes has increased, especially in the shoal (char) and coastal areas. Many raise cattle ahead of Eid ul-Azha.
Assistant Director of the Department of Livestock (Farm), Khaleduzzaman said, “various steps have been taken to control the use of harmful chemicals in the farms. As a result, farmers are naturally fattening cows and preparing them for sale.”