Sales of sacrificial animals started in many haats set up in Chattogram city on Friday but there were small numbers of cows in the markets on the first day when compared to previous years.
There were about 2,000 cows in Sagorika cattle haat, the largest animal market in the port city on Friday, whereas the market can accommodate one lakh cattle. In the city's Bibirhat Bazar, around 100 cows were there for sale.
Customer footfall was also thin on the first day of the Eid cattle sale in the city. Some buyers were seen inspecting sacrificial animals in the markets and checking prices.
Haat authorities hope that sales will pick up gradually as people nowadays buy sacrificial animals only two to three days before Eid. This is because rapid urbanisation has made it quite inconvenient for them to keep animals at home and take care of them.
Farmer Mohammad Toiab Ali brought 22 cows to Bibirbazar haat from Chapainawabganj on Thursday but none were sold.
On the contrary, upazila level haats had an adequate number of cows and drew many buyers.
Cattle trader from Rangunia Yeasin Ali told TBS that there are plenty of cows in the haats of Ranirhat, Roazahat, Pahartoli, and Kawkhali. Traders from the city buy cows from these markets.
On the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha this year, Chattogram City Corporation applied to the district administration for setting up 10 haats but they were permitted to set up only three haats. The district administration imposed 17 conditions for setting up an animal market.
The three approved temporary haats are Nur Nagar Housing Estate Ground, the ground adjacent to the Saltgola Railway Crossing and TK Group's field in South Patenga.
Syed Shamsul Tabriz, revenue officer of Chattogram City Corporation, said a 5% tax would have to be paid on the sale price of animals.
Farmers said the prices of fodder are much higher this year as compared to last year. The cost of food for each cow is at least Tk400-500 per day. So, the cow that was sold for Tk60,000 last year would cost Tk80,000.
Farmers are worried about whether or not they can make any profit.
Meanwhile, as the incidence of Covid-19 has increased, the government has given several instructions including setting up the sacrificial animal market by proper hygiene rules.
However, there was a lot of indifference in the city markets about following health rules. There was a one-way movement of buyers and sellers at the cattle market, but there were no separate entrances and exits.