The Ministry of Commerce has sought a comprehensive proposal from traders' groups for establishing cold storage facilities to help ensure the quality of rawhide and skins, officials said.
To this end, they said, the ministry has advised them to submit their proposals including detailed information on land by this month.
It has already sent letters to registered traders' groups (warehouse owners) in Chattogram, Feni, Cumilla, Natore, Gaibandha, Jashore, Rajshahi, Kushtia, Bogura, Naogaon, Chapainawabganj, Dinajpur and other places.
The government is considering helping the traders concerned in setting up of a couple of cold storage warehouses for preserving and stocking of rawhide if any associations or groups want to build up such storage facilities, they added.
But the proposal should come from registered associations or groups. If any individual or unregistered associations/groups put forward proposal, it will not be accepted, they mentioned.
The move has been taken at the request of stakeholders concerned, a high official of the commerce ministry said.
The commerce ministry is likely to give technical or financial assistance from its Export Competitiveness for Jobs (EC4J) project to establish one/two cold storages as per the demand made by stakeholders concerned, a MoC document showed.
"We have sent letters to the traders/stakeholders asking them to put forward proposals including necessary land info and affidavit," director, trade organisation and additional secretary of the commerce ministry Md Obaidul Azam told the FE on Thursday.
"If any traders' groups/associations concerned take move to establish cold storage facilities or convert any leather warehouses into cold storage ones, we will cooperate in line with their requirements," he said.
Mr Azam also explained that they could extend all sorts of support for establishing cold storage warehouses in the country.
He said, "We will only encourage collective efforts of traders (traders/warehouse owners or associations/groups level) concerned.
If any associations or groups provide necessary land jointly for establishing such storage, the commerce ministry will help them according to their requirements, the additional secretary said.
Thousands of pieces of rawhide remained unsold during last Eid-ul-Azha. Many also buried their rawhide under the ground after they failed to get expected prices while others sold them at throwaway prices.
A drastic fall in rawhide prices forced owners of sacrificial animals, small, medium and seasonal traders in different districts including Chattogram, Sylhet, Narayanganj, Tangail, Dhaka, Narsingdi, Khulna and Rajshahi to throw away thousands of pieces of rawhide of cows, goats and buffaloes during the holy Eid festival.
Cowhide was sold between Tk 100, Tk 200 and Tk 300 a piece this year whereas usual prices are around Tk 1,500, Tk 2,000 and Tk 3,000 respectively.
Seasonal rawhide traders and tanners blamed a 'syndicate' as the price of cow rawhide began to drop on the evening of Eid.
The merchants have blamed the tanners for the steep fall in rawhide prices, alleging that dues from past years forced them to offer low prices or stop buying.
When contacted, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants Association (BHSMA) Tipu Sultan said, "If some cold warehouses are established to preserve and stock of rawhide by the associations/groups/traders concerned with help of the government, it would be better for the country's leather sector."
He thinks that good management will have to be ensured for operation of cold storage warehouses properly.
Under BHSMA, there are around 300 warehouses across Dhaka city apart from more than 1,600 makeshift warehouses, Mr Tipu said.
Besides, nearly 0.12 million people are involved with around 5,000 warehouses across the country, he added.