Most cattle farm owners in Chandpur Sadar, Hajiganj, and Matlab Dakhshin upazilas are apprehending that they are unlikely to get the desired profit this year due to lockdown and prolonged Covid.
Due to the lockdown and year-long Covid situation, many people, who are in dire need of money, are now not in a position to buy one bull alone for Eid which they did in the past years.
Many farm owners have told the FE that they are afraid of taking their reared cattle out to the haats for sale due to the grave situation of Covid and lockdown. In this case, many cattle owners are seen to sell their cows, bulls, and oxen at a cheaper rate at home to the middlemen with a minimum profit.
Trading continues at Banglabazar cattle market at Chandra under Chandpur Sadar despite the surge in coronavirus infections and deaths — FE Photo
This was disclosed by farm owners Tajul Islam and his elder brother Alauddin Khandaker of Mollabari Road in Bishnudi village. They have sold as many as eight cows and bulls at over Tk 0.85 million (8.5 lakh). It was so much convenient for them. The same view was echoed by a few others too.
A young and enterprising cattle farm owner Jhoni Mia of Ashikati under Chandpur Sadar said he has 11/12 cows, bulls and oxen at his own small farm at home. He hopes all the cattle heads would be sold out one by one ahead of Eid as it happened last year.
This year he is less interested to take the cattle to the nearby market at Baburhat due to lockdown and harassment by the brokers and law enforcers.
Another cattle farm owner in Hatila under Hajiganj upazila Dulal Mirza has told this correspondent that this year he is less interested to take the cows, bulls, and oxen outside his farm as there prevails a grave situation of Covid and strict lockdown.
He may, however, sell some cows, bulls, and oxen at his cattle farm beside his home to the interested people or middlemen with a small profit.
Contacted, Pervin Islam, another farm owner in the Mohamaya area in the Chandpur-Hajiganj border area, has also shown little interest in selling her cattle due to lockdown. She says she is rather more busy with her milch cows and selling milk to the milk traders. When the milch cows stop giving milk, she may sell them ahead of Eid.
Mahfuzur Rahman has established a cattle farm at his home at Chandpur village under Govindapur union in Faridganj Upazila. He has told the FE that he has 70 cows, bulls and oxen at his farm. They all have good health and they are naturally grown up. He made no use of steroid or drugs to make them fat. He has a plan to sell at least 30 good-sized cows, bulls and oxen. He hopes to sell them with a little margin of profit at his home.
There are 14 cattle markets in the municipal areas in Chandpur Sadar, Faridganj, Matlab Dakhshin and Shahrasti upazilas while outside municipal areas, there are as many as 185 cattle markets in all the eight upazilas in the district. All the cattle markets must be run maintaining health rules despite lockdown.
A total of 14 vigilance teams led by vet surgeons will be supervising the cattle markets regarding health rules, said the District Livestock Officer.
There are 3,240 cattle farms in the eight upazilas in the district where about 26,790 cows, bulls and oxen and 13, 654 goats have been reared in these farms.
District Livestock Officer Dr Md Bakhtiar Uddin hopes that there will be no shortage of cattle head as countless cows, bulls and oxen are likely to pour into the haats and markets in Chandpur Sadar, Kochua and Shahrasti Upazilas from the neighbouring districts.
He says as per statistics, received from all eight upazilas, a total of 82,970 cows, bulls and oxen are needed to meet the demand for Eid. But there are as many as 77,879 cows, bulls and oxen are available in the district. There is a shortage of over five thousand cows, bulls and oxen in the district, he said adding there is no shortage of goats/sheep at all.
Our Correspondent from Netrakona says: Netrakona cattle farmers are worried about selling their sacrificial cows following the deterioration of Covid-19 situation.
They are also in a dilemma over the demand and price of sacrificial animals. Although the number of cows and farms and the price of cattle feed have increased compared to that of last year, the demand for cattle has not increased.
At the same time, there will be less buyers in the market for fear of corona infection. In this situation, the farmers are worried about selling their sacrificial cattle.
According to the farmers, the prices of all goods have gone up several times over the last one year. Accordingly, the price of cattle should be higher, they opine.
Kamrul, owner of Agro Zone farm of Netrakona sadar upazila, said the price of beef is very high due to corona. Besides, the cost of raising animals has also increased. And with that cost, the price of the animal also has to be increased a bit. And if they don't get that price, the farmers will have to count heavy losses, he added.
Manoranjan Dhar said that last year also there was a situation of corona at the time of Eid-ul-Azha. Considering the corona situation this year, all the Upazila Livestock Departments of the district have taken initiative to sell animals online.
For this, a Facebook ID called 'Online Animal Haat' was opened. He hoped that the sacrificial animals would be sold in large number online in this situation and the farm owners would get a fair price for their animals.
He also said that sacrificial animals have been prepared in 2000 farms in Netrakona district. Of these, 70,000 are cows and 28,000 are goats. Netrakona district has a demand for 90,000 animals. He also said that about 8,000 animals will be supplied to different parts of the country to meet the demand of the district.
Netrakona Deputy Commissioner Kazi Abdur Rahman said an online cattle market has been launched for the purchase of sacrificial animals. To avoid infection of the deadly coronavirus, the Netrakona cattle market can be searched online with the help of the District Livestock Department and the sacrificial animal of choice can be purchased from home at affordable prices, he added.
Our Bogura Correspondent adds: More than 0.2 million cattle have been prepared for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha in Bogura but farmers are seen worried as the ongoing strict lockdown disrupted the transportation and sale of animals.
These animals have been nourished by feeding completely natural foods without the use of steroids and hormones that are harmful for the human body.
But due to corona, Middle Eastern countries have restricted the import of beef from India, so beef is going from Bangladesh to the Middle East. Therefore, the farmers of Bogura are dreaming of a windfall profit.
Every year on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha, the people of the district raise animals on commercial basis in family farms. These animals are sent to different districts of the country including Dhaka and Chittagong by meeting the local demand.
Facebook page has been opened under the name of Online Sacrificial Animal Haat to sell animals from farms instead of taking them to the market to prevent corona infection.
A farmer Nurul Hoque under Shajahanpur upazila said he was aware of ensuring healthy meat for others as well as avoiding adulterated food. He also said he feeds the farm cattle natural food like wheat, maize, lentil husk, rice husk etc.