Rawhide traders across the country are dissatisfied over the prices during this Eid. Meanwhile, the numbers of Qurbani have declined drastically due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"People's earnings have been reduced amid the pandemic. Many people are not being able to earn that much from their businesses, while many lost their jobs. That's why many of them have purchased sacrificial animals jointly this year," Lawyer Sogir Hossain, a resident of the capital's Tropical Housing told The Business Standard.
Another resident of Adabor's Baitul Aman Housing Society said that the residents of the building he lives in sacrificed 6-7 animals last year. But this year, they only sacrificed three.
Similar scenarios were seen in other areas across the city on Eid day.
With the number of slaughtered animals on the decline, seasonal rawhide traders said that this year, they have collected less than half of the rawhides they collected last year.
"We collected 1000 rawhides last year, but this year, we could collect only 400," two seasonal rawhide traders Mofijul Islam Pintu and Saifuddin told The Business Standard.
Both of them came to Science lab haat from Begunbari area. They also expressed their dissatisfaction over the price of rawhides.
"We only bought quality rawhides. We had to spend Tk900-1,100 to buy the rawhide of cows, those cost from Tk1 lakh to 1.5 lakh. But the traders are willing to pay less the normal price for the rawhides," they said, adding that they don't have any option other than selling the rawhides counting losses.
It's not only the seasonal traders who expressed their dissatisfaction with rawhide price this year. The sellers are also saying that they haven't received the government-set prices while selling the rawhides to seasonal traders.
On the other hand, rawhide traders are saying that the price is higher than what they expected.
Like every year, the seasonal traders have collected and brought the rawhides in Science lab and traders are buying those from them.
Joint-Secretary (Imports) of the Commerce Ministry HM Shafiquzzaman informed BSS that the additional secretary and joint-secretary level officials of the ministry will start visiting different divisions and districts across the country from tomorrow to supervise all leather-related matters.
He said if the fair price of rawhides is not immediately available, the rawhides should be salted and preserved.
"Salted rawhide remains well for one to one-and-a-half months. The ministry has already lifted the ban on salted raw-leather exports and allowed leather exports," he added.
Vising the temporary market on Saturday noon, the correspondent saw that traders were willing to pay Tk400-600 for rawhides of cow and Tk20-40 for rawhides of goat.
This year, the price of each square foot of cow rawhide was set at Tk35-40. It was Tk45-50 last year. The price has been reduced by 29 percent.
Outside Dhaka, the price is set at Tk28-32 per square foot for rawhide of cow. It was Tk35-40 last year. The price is reduced by 20 percent this year.
"Each year, we received a good amount of money after selling the rawhides. A poor family could have easily spent two to three days with that money. But this year, I had to sell the rawhides at very low price," Md Aslam, a resident of Rampura told The Business Standard.
"The demand for rawhide is very low this year, compared to the last year. It's mainly because a significant amount of rawhides that were bought last year remained unsold in tanneries and factories," General Secretary of Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants' Association (BHSMA) Tipu Sultan told media on Saturday afternoon.
According to our Bogura correspondent, many wholesalers in Bogura are not buying rawhides this Eid-ul-Adha as they are yet to recover a huge amount of dues from tanners in Dhaka, thus causing the seasonal, as well as regular rawhide traders, count losses.
"Tannery owners in Dhaka owe at least Tk30 crore to 16 traders in Bogura. Almost Tk7 crore of me and my brother has also got stuck," Bogura District Rawhide Trader's General Secretary Abdul Matin told The Business Standard.
"The due was more, but the tannery owners paid some amount back in the last three years," he added.
At least 15 traders in Bogura are not buying any rawhide this year due to a shortage of capital.
Md Naser who has been trading rawhides for almost 20 years said he used to collect around 300 pieces of rawhides before the afternoon on the Eid day. "But this year, I collected only one hundred," he said.
Naser also pointed out the price of rawhides have reduced this year. "Last year, the rawhide of a cow that cost Tk1 lakh was sold at Tk1,000-1,200. The price has fallen to Tk700 this year. Meanwhile, rawhides of cows that cost Tk80-90 thousand are selling at Tk700," he said.
Bogura Livestock Officer Dr Md Rafiqul Islam Talukder said Bogura had a total of 3 lakh 27 thousand sacrificial animals this year. Volunteers are conducting surveys on figuring out how many of them were sacrificed
In Satkhira, rawhide traders are unwilling to buy rawhides of cow and goat. Being unable to sell the rawhides, people are donating those to local orphanages.
"Rawhide traders don't want to buy the hides. They wanted to pay Tk50 for each of the rawhides. So we donated them to orphanages," residents of Satkhira's Tala upazila Abdul Majid and Anar Ali told The Business Standard.
Motiar Sardar, a resident of Shibpur village of Tala upazila said that even the orphanages in the area don't want to take rawhides anymore.
"The orphanages said that they will need to spend lots of money to buy salt to store the rawhide," he said.
Motiar Sardar ended up selling a goat rawhide to a trader for Tk10.
Gobinda Das, a rawhide trader of Tala bazar said that the price of the rawhide of medium-size cow is Tk50. For bigger cows, the price is Tk100. For goat rawhide, he is willing to pay Tk10. The sellers have to deliver the rawhides to his shop.
"I have to use salt worth Tk100-150 on each of the rawhides. I won't be able to sell them for more than Tk150-200 after that," he said.
According to our Chuadanga correspondent, goat rawhides are getting sold at Tk20 and cow rawhides are getting sold at Tk200.
With the price being this low, orphanages and mosques are storing the rawhides using salt, in hope of a better price in the near future.
Most of the rawhide traders said that they haven't received last year's payment from tannery owners yet.
In Manikganj, most of the residents and seasonal traders couldn't sell rawhides til the evening.
Failing to sell the rawhides, some of the residents donated them to local orphanage and mosques. Still, a huge amount of rawhides remained unsold.
The local administration said that the number of animals sacrificed during the Eid-ul-Adha is yet to be determined.
In Pabna, cow rawhides are being sold at Tk200-550, while goat rawhides are being sold at Tk15-30. Pabna residents and rawhide traders are claiming that they haven't seen these much lower prices before.
The residents also claimed that rawhides are illegally being smuggled to India.
"A group of fraud smuggle a huge amount of rawhides to India each year. They are more active this year," a rawhide trader, unwilling to be named, told The Business Standard.
In Brahmanbaria, seasonal rawhide traders said that they have a huge amount of rawhides in stock, but the number of customers is very little.
This year, the temporary rawhide market have been set in the city's Loknath Dighi field.
With little to no customers in the market, the price of rawhides saw a massive decrease.
Seasonal rawhide trader Md Mostafa said, "I bought 5 rawhides, paying Tk250 for each on average. Couldn't sell any of them yet."
He also said that traders were willing to pay Tk170-200 for each of the hides.
"I will dump the rawhides on dustbin rather than selling them if I can't get any profit," he added.
Seasonal rawhide trader Kawsar Ali's situation is even worse. He bought 50 goat rawhide, pay Tk15 for each. No one even asked the price to him yet. He also said that he would need to dump the rawhides on dustbin if he can't sell them.
In Rangpur, most of the seasonal traders are in trouble buying the rawhides. The traders are selling rawhides counting double loss.
Seasonal traders said that they paid Tk400-500 for each of the rawhides. With little to no customers, they are selling them for Tk50-200.