The commerce ministry has increased the prices of sacrificial cow rawhide by Tk7 and goat skin by Tk3 per square foot compared to last year.
The price of salted cow rawhide is fixed at Tk47-52 per sq ft in Dhaka and Tk40-44 outside Dhaka said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi after an online meeting with top officials of the concerned ministries and leather traders on Tuesday.
Besides, the price of goat hide has been set at Tk18-20 per sq ft while it is Tk12-14 per sq ft for female goat hide across the country.
Last year, the price of salted cow rawhide was fixed at Tk40-45 per square foot in Dhaka and Tk33-37 per square foot outside of the capital. The price of goat hide was set at Tk15-17 per square foot.
Considering the overall situation of local and international markets, the commerce ministry proposed to increase the cow rawhide price in Dhaka by Tk10 per sq ft, while the industry ministry proposed to fix it at Tk15. However, the tannery owners wanted to increase the price of cow rawhide by a maximum of Tk5 per square foot.
When Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi mentioned the devaluation of taka and proposed to increase the cow rawhide price by Tk2 more than that proposed by the tannery owners, they agreed to that.
At the meeting, the commerce minister, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh and Industries Secretary Zakia Sultana said to prevent the skin from being damaged, the persons offering sacrifices have to add salt within three hours after skinning the animal.
Therefore, they instructed the city corporations to ensure that the buyers of sacrificial animals also buy the required amount of salt at the same time.
Objecting to that, Information Secretary Md Maqbool Hossain said owners of sacrificial animals will not be interested in applying salt to rawhide because they do not get appropriate prices.
Mentioning that he sold a cow rawhide for only Tk250 last year.
Maqbool said if the fair price of rawhide cannot be ensured, no one offering sacrifices would spend money for applying salt to it. Moreover, there is no practice in the country where the owners of the sacrificial animals apply salt to rawhide. So, such a decision would not be logical.
"No matter what we do, if we cannot ensure the price of rawhide at the field level, nothing will work," said the information secretary.
"If the prices of leather and leather products are increasing in the international market, why is it in such a miserable condition in the domestic market? People do not care for rawhide because they do not get an appropriate price," he said.
"People now leave goat skins hanging on trees. In this situation, it is necessary to first ensure that the people offering sacrifices will get back the cost of salt they apply to the leather," he added.
Opposing the information secretary's statement, Industries Secretary Zakia Sultana said, "Someone who buys a cow with Tk1 lakh can also buy 8 kg of salt for Tk100."
Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh said, "People who make sacrifices do not calculate profit or loss. Middlemen make such calculations. We have to start a social movement where the person offering sacrifice will apply salt to the rawhide. A new system must be developed in the interest of the country."