Rajarhat rawhide market in Jashore at last got momentum on its second trading day on Saturday after Eid-ul-Azha.
According to the market lease, nearly 45,000 untanned cattle skins worth around Tk2 crore were traded on the day.
Though the rawhide hub was dull on Tuesday, the first market day after the Eid, the second trading day was packed and noisy as tannery buyers and merchants purchased nearly all rawhides came to the market.
Seasonal traders and merchants from ten southern districts and other regions bring rawhides to the hub on Tuesday and Saturday every week.
Lessee of the market Hasanuzzaman Hasu said the second trading day offered double the price the traders got on Tuesday and all the rawhides were sold out by noon.
He said the second trading day after Eid had sales of 30,000-35,000 cowhides and 10,000 to 15,000 goat skins.
Rajarhat market had its own prices for rawhide trades though the government fixed prices for untanned skins before the Eid.
The second trading day even with doubled prices could not satisfy the rawhide traders.
Shahidul Islam, a local rawhide trader, came to the market with 56 cowhides and 550 goat skins. He said that he collected the cowhides at Tk500 per piece while the market was offering Tk250 only. Meantime, buyers were offering Tk50 for per piece goat price.
The trader said he would have to sell the collections anyhow no matter how low the prices are.
Other traders like Shahidul said they came to the market with the skins from distant parts of the southern region. If they did not sell their collection at even throwaway prices, they would have to bring the skins back – which meant added transportation and preservation costs.
Nur Islam, a rawhide trader who came to the market from Madaripur, said the cowhides should have been at Tk800 to Tk1,000 per piece.
"If the prices did not improve on the second trading after the Eid, we might have to return home after dumping the rawhides here," said Abdur Rashid, a trader from Jhenaidah.
Seasonal traders incur losses again
The seasonal traders were upset with the prices and said many of them could not sell rawhides even at the prices they bought them from households – let alone profit.
Local rawhide trader Ranjan Das came to the market with 100 cowhides and sold per piece at Tk600. He said that though he did not have to incur loss, the profit was much lower than he expected.
Another seasonal trader Swadesh Das said the market offered the highest Tk600 for per piece cowhide. But the price was supposed to be at Tk700 according to the government fixed rate this year.
"Like the previous year, seasonal traders got affected this year too," he claimed.
Bimol Das, another seasonal trader, said he sold 24 goat skins at Tk420 – per piece for Tk17.
"I even did not get the cost for salt-seasoning the rawhides," he sounded upset.
Jashore Rawhide Traders Association General Secretary Alauddin Mukul also agreed that many traders did not expected prices. But he appreciated that no trader had to bring back the unsold cattle skins Saturday.
Wholesale traders in troubles too
The wholesale buyers who purchase rawhides from the small traders and supply to the tanneries said they were in trouble too.
Wholesale buyers said they bought rawhides of the just-celebrated Eid while the tanneries are yet to clear their dues of the last season.
Wholesaler Abdul Wahab of Rajarhat said they do not know how much the tanneries would pay them for the untanned skins and exactly when they would get the cash in their pocket.
"Tanneries owe me Tk70 lakh and paid only Tk1 lakh before the Eid. I would be in big trouble if they do not buy rawhides in cash this season," he added.
Another wholesaler said his dues from a tannery was to Tk39 lakh, but it was not clearing the payment.
Jashore zila market officer Sujat Hosen said all the rawhides came to the marker were sold out by noon though the trading did not follow the government-fixed prices.