Main Uddin, a resident at Mirsarai, sacrificed a cow that he bought at over Tk1 lakh, but a lone seasonal trader offered Tk100 for its hide. He did not sell it to him in the hope getting a bit higher price. The cowhide ended up being unsold with no more buyer showing up for it, forcing Main to dump it.
Like him, at least 50 percent of the people, who sacrificed animals, in Chattogram buried rawhides in the absence of seasonal traders while many others sold for throwaway prices between Tk50 and Tk100.
This year, most small and seasonal buyers kept them away from collecting rawhides as they had to concede disastrous losses because of low demand last year.
Main told The Business Standard that they would sell a hide of a cow – brought for Tk20,000 – at Tk1,200. Even after buying a cow at Tk1 lakh, they now cannot sell its hide at more than Tk100.
Many people have also donated rawhides to madrasas, orphanages, mosques and other charities after failing to sell those.
The religious and charitable organisations have also found them in some trouble with no local buyers for donated rawhides. As a result, they handed over those to traders on a condition that they would get paid only if they could sell those to tanners.
Hafeez Maulana Mohammad Shoaib, principal of Darul Ulum Madrasa, told The Business Standard, "Local people have donated hides of 279 cows, 40 buffaloes and eight goats this Eid-ul-Adha to our madrasa. But, we faced trouble with those for not getting buyers. Later, we took those to a nearby market but were not getting any buyer too till Saturday night."
"Eventually, we had to give those to a trader on condition that he would pay us if those are sold. Seasonal traders were collecting rawhides at Tk50-Tk100 apiece in that market," he added.
Shah Alam, a former executive member at Chattogram Rawhide Warehouse Traders' Cooperative Association, said, "I used to buy 3,000 to 4,000 rawhides every year. This time, I have bought only 1,000 cowhides at Tk200 per piece. Many seasonal traders were also bringing more hides to me on Sunday. When I showed reluctance, they said, 'Please accept those and pay later; otherwise, we will have no choice but to throw those away'."
As per information collected from different upazilas and the city, many seasonal traders have refrained from collecting rawhides this season as they had to throw away thousands of pieces of rawhides after failing to sell those owing to a lack of demand last year.
Rawhide traders in Chattogram collect hides and bring those to rawhide warehouses in the city's Atura Depot. The hides are preserved there after applying salt on those. Later, aratdars (warehouse owners) supply rawhides to tannery owners in Dhaka. There are 112 aratdars registered with the association in Chattogram. The number of non-members is at least 150.
This year, the government has fixed the price of salted cowhide at Tk28-32 per square foot outside Dhaka whereas it was Tk35 to Tk40 last year.
When contacted, Abdul Quader, former president at Chattogram Rawhide Warehouse Traders' Cooperative Association, said, "It will take a few more days to find out the amount of rawhides purchased this year. However, this time, it is likely to be less than in previous years."