Large animals brought small profits this Eid
Farmers in northern Bangladesh who prepared large cattle for sale during the recent Eid-ul-Azha have been left disgruntled as they registered unexpectedly poor profits even though a higher number of animals were bought for sacrifice this year, according to traders and livestock officials.
Mozammel Haque Babu, a cattle farmer from Baghoil Modhopara village under Chatmohar upazila of Pabna, had brought a handsome bull weighing approximately 36 maunds to Gabtoli haat in Dhaka ahead of Eid-ul-Azha this year.
The bull, named Shopno Raj, was a star attraction at the cattle market but it sold for just Tk 5.05 lakh a day before Eid.
"I spent about Tk 8 lakh in the last four years to provide the bull with organic food and expected to sell it for Tk 20 lakh," Babu said.
"We prepared enough animals for sacrifice this year but people did not have the capacity to buy big animals with high prices," said Krishno Mohon Haldar, district livestock officer of Pabna
"Had I sold the meat separately, I would have easily earned Tk 9-10 lakh but my family forced me to sell the giant animal for such a low price because it would be costly to bring it back home," he added.
Babu went on to say that even other large bulls that weighed up to 40 maunds sold for just Tk 4 lakh and so, he was compelled to accept the Tk 5 lakh offer.
"Considering this huge loss, I have become discouraged about fattening bulls in the future."
Md Habib Hossain, a cattle farmer from Chor Bolorampur village in the same upazila, also received poor prices for the 22 bulls he fattened in preparation for the Eid market.
"Each one weighed between 800 to 900 kilogrammes and I expected to sell them for Tk 2.5 to Tk 3 lakh per animal but I had to accept prices of Tk 1.5 to Tk 2 lakh before the festival," he said.
Habib then explained that he was bound to sell his cattle no matter the cost as it would be expensive to maintain them for another year considering the soaring feed prices.
Likewise, Md Barekul Sheikh of Mazzan village in Sirajganj's Shahzadpur upazila said he sold 17 fattened bulls at Badamtoli haat in the capital but was denied the expected profit.
Sheikh was able to sell his cattle for about Tk 1.2 to Tk 1.5 lakh, making a profit of about Tk 5,000 per animal.
"So, we incurred losses considering the various input costs but we are happy to have at least gotten some money given the lack of profit in this Eid market," he added.
Zeenat Sultana, deputy director of the Department of Livestock Services, said that around 90.93 lakh sacrificial animals were sold in the Eid market this year, which is about 10 lakhs higher than the number sold in 2021.
"Last year, a total of 90.83 lakh sacrificial animals were sold for about Tk 46,000 crore collectively but this year, business was well over Tk 50,000 crore," she added.
According to a number of officials in the livestock department, the cattle were sold for cheaper prices this time around as the consumers' financial capacity has deteriorated due to high inflation and other economic concerns.
"We prepared enough animals for sacrifice this year but people did not have the capacity to buy big animals with high prices," said Krishno Mohon Haldar, district livestock officer of Pabna.
But even though farmers were deprived of their expected profits when it came to large animals, small and medium sized ones fetched them good returns.
The demand for animals weighing two to four maunds saw a marked increase this Eid as those are sold at more affordable prices.
"So, those were able to get the maximum asking price," he added.