Mokbul’s magnificent cattle farm
Holy Eid-ul-Azha is knocking on our doors. In Bangladesh, we celebrate this Islamic event of sacrifice, popularly known as Qurbani Eid. Half of the total number of cattle sacrificed countrywide throughout the year, is done on this very day. Every devout Muslim tries to participate in the sacrifice. And to sell attractive bulls and cows for Qurbani Eid, farmers do beef fattening the entire year. It is an established trade now. We can meet the country's cattle demand with our own production. A few months back, I went to Bhatara, located in Dhaka's Badda area to visit Engineer Mokbul Hossain's livestock farm. He left the engineering profession and established his farm, eight years back. The purpose has always been to provide people with good quality meat, dairy and other agro-products.
Mokbul primarily started his farm to raise cows for milk. He was inspired by watching Hridoye Mati O Manush (Soil & People in Heart, aired on Channel i) and also visited many countries to learn more about livestock farming. His customers became so impressed with the quality of the milk and had suggested him that he could go for raising cattle for meat, selling pure mustard oil and also fresh ghee (clarified butter). Since 2017, engineer Mokbul Hossain started beef fattening. With an infrastructure approved scientifically, under tin shade, mother cows and bulls are being raised. Local baby cows are raised and fattened with organic feed. This way he saves feed expenses while ensuring pure healthy meat for his customers. The owner says every cattle in his farm makes a sure sale. Usually, the customers who buy pure milk from the farm, buy the bulls, goats and sheep too.
Ahead of this year's Eid-ul-Azha, the farm has bulls worth Tk two crore (USD 236,000). Mokbul hopes to earn a good profit from the upcoming Qurbani Eid. He has over 150 eligible bulls for Qurbani. He bought the bulls from various districts across the country, all by himself. Some were 11 months old, some were 9, and some were a year old. Now they're ready for sale.
"Some people use growth hormones and steroids to fatten the cows; how do you see this", I asked Mokbul.
"My stand is very transparent. Those who do it dishonestly will not last", Mokbul replied.
Mokbul says those sellers won't get any returning customers. He believes such deceitful trade is only temporary and filthy.
"I fatten cows naturally with grass, hay and normal feed and my customers always come back to me after getting quality meat", added Mokbul.
He even designed his farm in a way so that cows get enough sunlight. He could do this as he's a professional Civil Engineer.
"I used my techniques. Every cow gets at least two hours of sunlight a day inside the farm", said Mokbul.
Engineer Mokbul Hossain has turned himself into a complete agro entrepreneur. Agriculture-centric activities have occupied his thoughts and passion. He knows how to make profit from his agricultural initiatives. It is indeed challenging to market the cows according to customer's expectations because there are customers who still have doubts about beef fattening by growth hormone and steroids. So, marketing the cows fattened with 100pc local feed while tackling those doubts is not easy at all, says Mokbul. And Mokbul Hossain is doing it perfectly and professionally to satisfy his loyal customers. He is using social media in a methodic and commercial approach to market the cows amid the pandemic restrictions and convincing people that his cows are organically fattened and are the best ones to buy.
"I have around five thousand fixed customers who look at me keenly for quality products. I want to provide them with the best ones to the best of my ability", says Mokbul.
What Mokbul has done for his cattle is quite remarkable: he met nutritional demands and made it easy and hassle-free for the customers to let them buy the best organic cow. That is why the demand is increasing every day and so far, he has been able to do it magnificently. He has customers in Baridhara, Gulshan, Banani, especially the areas near Badda. Most people prefer red medium-sized cows. Mokbul keeps up the communication with his customers and he recently brought those cows from Thakurgaon district. Generally, Mokbul buys cows, aged one to one and half years old, with prices ranging from Tk 28,000 (USD 330) to Tk 40,000 (USD 471). Then he raises them for a year. His average monthly feed cost behind each cow is Tk 3,000 (USD 35.36) to Tk 5,000 (USD 58.93). A positive change is seen among customers as well. They are now deeply concerned about the quality of the cows. Engagement of educated people in farming, efforts from the livestock department, and media campaigns have made farmers, consumers and traders, aware of the positive ideas on beef fattening. Now, customers can recognize a steroid-fed cow. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Mokbul is operating his sales on social media, particularly through Facebook.
The feed Mokbul gives to the cows is completely different. He mixes wheat, rice, corn, mustard and other oils with hay. He makes the unique feed himself. It is very nutritious and pure, says Mokbul. Another important feature of Mokbul's farm is that it is absolutely neat and clean and the cows get plenty of space. Since childhood, Mokbul saw his parents raise livestock animals and he applies the same exact method at his farm. According to each cow's weight, he provides the necessary feed. That is why his cows look very healthy and active at the same time. An estimate says, the demand for sacrificial animals increases by 10pc every year ahead of Eid-ul-Azha. Last year, the demand was 1 crore 10 lakh cattle (10.1 Million). But due to the COVID-19 crisis, the demand fell by 20pc. This year, the situation can be the same. The concerned authority expects the demand for cattle during this Qurbani will be 1 crore (10 million). Buyers and sellers are also expecting to sell and buy cattle through online platforms. I wish both the buyers and sellers good luck and hope to write another in-depth article on nationwide cattle demand, market preparation and other relevant matters before Eid-ul-Azha.