A torchbearer for cattle farmers
Mahin Rahman Saquif is a third-year BBA student at North South University. He started his cattle business, Hasina Agro, last year. As a child, Mahin was always fascinated by animals.
"The Covid-19 pandemic made it difficult for cattle owners and farmers to run their businesses in haats, as the government had suspended mass gatherings," Mahin explained. He stepped in to alleviate the sufferings of such farmers and promote their cattle while adding extra services and selling it to customers. He named the venture after his mother, Hasina Momotaz Shirin, who died due to pneumonia last year.
Many businessmen use steroids to fatten the cows. These chemicals present in the meat can disrupt normal hormonal function in consumers and are capable of causing adverse health effects. Mahin realised that people are fond of deshi cattle. "Some businessmen mislead customers by introducing Indian cows as Bangladeshi ones. I assure customers that our cattle is steroid-free and Bangladeshi," he asserted.
Mahin generally sells to customers based in Dhaka, who do not have time to go to a cattle haat physically. On purchasing a cow from Hasina Agro, Mahin provides free home delivery, making cattle shopping safe and convenient. "I also provide some cattle food so they do not need to go to the market. I accept online payments, making the entire process hassle-free," he further said. Being a marketing major, he set the business up so that people will get extra value compared to his competitors. Additionally, he makes promotional visuals and videos to gain outreach.
The challenges in this field of work include obstacles while delivering the cattle. "The delivery process is extremely hazardous. It is tough to travel with so many living animals from Netrokona to Dhaka and traffic jams make it difficult to maintain the timeframe of delivery," he shared. Juggling his studies while running a business is another major challenge in itself as he often attends online classes from the haat.
Last year, Mahin sold six cows, generating a profit of about BDT 50000. He has already sold 20 cows this year. "I am getting more requests but have decided to hold down the sales as I want to ensure the optimum level of service to my existing customers," he said. The strict lockdown has not impacted his business as most of the activities are conducted online. However, he will have to take proper permission from the law enforcement agencies and local authorities while completing the deliveries.
Mahin mainly uses social media platforms to promote his business. He regularly uploads new content on his Facebook page, "Hasina Agro" and group, "Virtual Gorur Haat by Hasina Agro". His posts include every detail about the cattle, along with relevant pictures. Customers also have the facility of seeing the cattle through video calls.
His future plans include establishing eight farms across eight divisions of the country with several distribution points.
The author is a freelance journalist who likes reading, planning, and scribbling. Email: email@example.com.