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Gabtoli market: Small cattle in high demand

With Eid-ul-Azha just around the corner, Dhaka residents are flocking to cattle markets in search of sacrificial animals. With prevailing financial challenges, many individuals are opting for smaller and medium-sized cattle this year.

However, this escalating demand for these cattle has resulted in a notable increase in their prices.

The city is preparing to host a total of 21 cattle markets, encompassing both permanent and temporary locations. The selling of livestock in most of these markets is set to start today, heightening the anticipation among buyers and sellers alike.

These correspondents visited Gabtoli, the city’s permanent cattle market, for the last two days, and observed that the shades designated for smaller and medium-sized cows were brimming with eager buyers, while the rows dedicated to larger ones stood largely unoccupied.

Rows upon rows of various livestock, including cows, goats, and sheep, were neatly lined up. Sellers, adorned in traditional attire, skillfully showcased their prized animals, vying for the attention of potential buyers.Every detail of the livestock, ranging from their health and size to their overall quality, was examined by the potential buyers.Bargaining ensued, as buyers sought to secure the best possible deal for their sacrificial animal.

However, the surge in prices of smaller and medium-sized cows has posed challenges for many facing financial constraints, who may now need to navigate their budgets more carefully to fulfill their sacrificial obligations.Siraj Mia, a cattle trader from Rajbari, said he purchased seven small and medium-sized cows at prices ranging from Tk 80,000 to Tk 1,25,000.He said customers often refer to last year’s prices, overlooking the increased costs of cattle food and the higher prices of beef in the market. As a result, this year’s customers should expect to pay Tk 15,000 to Tk 20,000 more for each cow compared to last year.

Shamsu Mia, another trader who brought 13 cows from Kushtia, echoed similar sentiments. He shared that the animals were acquired for Tk 1,00,000 to Tk 1,60,000.Irfan Hossain, a private service holder from the Tejgaon Industrial area, expressed his plans for dividing the sacrificed animal into portions.”Due to the high prices of cattle this year, my family has decided to divide the animal into five portions instead of the usual three. Despite our search for a suitable cow priced around Tk 85,000, we are yet to find one that meets our requirement,” he said.

Naznin Sultana, a private school teacher, recounted her experience of spending Tk 15,000 on one portion last year. However, this time, she anticipates the cost to exceed Tk 20,000.Abul Hossain, the manager of the lessees at the Gabtoli cattle market, acknowledged the high demand for smaller cattle this year.Customers are actively seeking cows priced between Tk 80,000 and Tk 1,10,000, he said. However, he reassured that there is an ample supply to meet the demand, with a significant number of cattle being brought to the market.”Prices may decrease as Eid-ul-Azha approaches,” he said.

Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim on June 14 said the number of sacrificial animals this year is around 1.25 crore, which is 4.1 lakh more than last year.Probable demand of the sacrificial animals this year is around 1.03 crore, meaning 21.41 lakh cattle will remain as surplus, he said.

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