No seasonal traders for rawhide this Eid

Numerous people said they had donated the rawhide from their animal sacrifices to charities as they could not find buyers

Eid-ul-Azha is the biggest source of rawhide for Bangladesh’s billion-dollar leather industry, providing for up to 50% of its needs. However, seasonal rawhide traders were nowhere to be found this time.

The few traders who were willing to buy rawhide offered prices far lower than that mandated by the government, prompting many sellers to donate to charities and religious institutions instead.

The government had set a price of Tk35-40 per square foot of salted rawhide of sacrificed cattle in Dhaka, and Tk28-32 per square foot in other parts of the country.

Last year, over 10 million animals were sacrificed on Eid-ul-Azha.

Masudul Haque, a resident of Bashundhara Residential Area in Dhaka, told Dhaka Tribune: “Every year, there are many seasonal traders looking to buy rawhide on Eid-ul-Azha, but this time we did not see a single buyer.”

He added that three cows had been sacrificed at his community this year, and they ended up donating the rawhide to a madrasa.

Numerous other people also said they had donated the rawhide from their animal sacrifices to charities as they could not find buyers. 

Mohammad Rasel, a resident of Sonargaon in Narayanganj, was one of the few people who found a buyer for rawhide.

“A couple of years ago, we sold rawhide from a cow for Tk1,500-2,000. This year, the buyer offered Tk300 for the rawhide of a cow bought for Tk66,500,” he said.

According to Rasel, the seasonal trader said most of them were unwilling to buy rawhide this time as they saw a severe fall in prices and suffered losses last year.

Md Raihan, a resident of Morrelganj in Bagerhat district, told Dhaka Tribune: “A trader offered Tk250 for the rawhide of a cow bought at Tk90,000. I did not sell it. It is better to donate than to sell at this price as we cannot distribute such a small amount among the poor.”

Tanners said young seasonal traders were unwilling to do business this time, which may be the reason there was such a low turnout of traders.

They also said they had urged traders to buy rawhide and preserve it with enough salt, assuring them that they would buy it from the traders at the prices set by the government.

“We will buy rawhide at the government set prices, but the traders have to preserve it with enough salt to protect it from rot,” Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA) Chairman Shaheen Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune.  

He suggested using six to seven kilograms of salt to preserve rawhide.

Regarding the low turnout of seasonal traders, the BTA leader said it might have been caused by health safety concerns as the country was going through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year, seasonal rawhide traders incurred losses due to a sharp fall in prices offered by tanners.

The traders registered their protest by throwing away thousands of pieces of rawhide of sacrificial animals that they had failed to sell.