Cattle traders have become worried about the sale of their sacrificial animals in the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha because of the outbreak of Covid-19 across the country.
They were expecting to sell the sacrificial animals at a profit, but the coronavirus has changed the situation this year.
Mohammad Nurunnabi of Sultanpur village under Jashore sadar upazila has fattened 10 cows intended for Eid-ul-Azha. He is spending at least Tk2,000 every day to feed the animals.
Asaduzzaman Asad of Hamidpur village in the same upazila has also fattened five local cows. He is also spending up to Tk1,200 to feed the cattle every day.
They expected their cattle to be sold at a good price for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha.
Not only those two farmers in Jashore, 10,282 cattle farms are fattening cattle for Eid-ul-Azha.
Of these animals, 34,997 are cows and 32,978 are goats and sheep.
In 2019 in Jashore, 70,624 cows and goats were fattened in 10,827 farms. Of these, 31,622 were cows and 39,002 were goats and sheep.
In 2018, 59,500 cows and goats were fattened on 11,500 farms. Of these, 33,000 were cows and 26,500 were goats and sheep.
It was found that most of the farmers were rearing sacrificial animals by investing from their small funds.
Meanwhile, Abdul Qaium of Akhaura upazila in Brahmanbaria is worried about the sale of a 25-maund cow named "Tiger."
He has already spent at least Tk2.5 lakh to rear the Australian breed animal that was born three years ago.
He planned to sell the cow for Tk10 lakh in this Eid-ul-Azha. But considering the coronavirus situation, he has fixed the price of the animal at Tk6.60 lakh.
But even then he is worried about being able to sell the cow at this reduced price.
"If there was no outbreak of the Covid-19, I would have taken Tiger to a large cattle market in Dhaka or Chattogram. I could sell Tiger there for at least Tk10 lakh. But everyone is in trouble because of the coronavirus. So, I have lowered the price. But I'm still concerned about being able to sell Tiger on the market," said Qaium.
Although no cattle are being imported from India, livestock officials are worried over the Covid-19 pandemic because if there is a shortage of buyers, the farmers will be financially crippled.
According to the Divisional Livestock Office in Jashore, there is a demand for some 60,000 sacrificial animals in the district this year.
Accordingly, 67,975 sacrificial animals were being prepared in eight upazilas of the district.
Shariful Islam of Fulbari village in Lebutala union of Jashore Sadar is rearing 15 local cows. He spends Tk150 per day on a cow.
The cow feed includes husk, raw grass among other items. He got a good price last Eid and so he raised the animals again.
The cows on his farm will be sold for Tk50,000 to Tk200,000. However, the impact of Covid-19 is making him anxious.
If the cows are not sold based on his expectations, then he may lose everything, he said.
Cattle traders allege that they did not get any benefit in this sector for at least the past five years because of the entry of Indian cattle. So, many traders have lost interest in the business. And this time, they may get hit by the coronavirus.
"We are concerned that buyers will not come to the markets this time over fears of the coronavirus infection. If there are few buyers, we will make a loss," said Tuhin Hossain, a cattle trader of the Talbaria area under Jashore Sadar upazila.
Dr Shafiul Alam, acting divisional livestock officer of Jashore, said that there would be 8,000 additional cattle even after meeting the demands of the sacrifice.
"We are continuously in touch with farmers. We especially monitor to make sure that no one pushes harmful injections in the animals," he said.
However, we are also concerned in line with cattle traders about the impact of coronavirus. If the farmers suffer a loss, they will lose interest in raising cattle in the future, he added.