Tannery owners would begin purchasing rawhide from today, though not at the government-fixed rate in a move to stop export following the price debacle that forced many to sell the items at throwaway prices, said rawhide merchants.
They said that tanners would not collect a huge amount of rawhide produced during Eid-ul-Azha as their target was only to stop export of the items.
Many in Dhaka, Chattogram and other districts dumped rawhides on Eid day last Monday faced with a drastic fall in prices while some complained that even seasonal buyers also left the rawhides on roads fearing further losses.
A number of tanners said that they were in an acute financial crisis as they could not sell finished leather from last year and banks declined to give further loans which affected their buying capacity.
‘We will try to buy rawhide as per our purchasing capability,’ said Shakawat Ullah, general secretary of Bangladesh Tanners Association.
Aman Patoary, owner of M/S Lien Enterprise, a giant tannery at Hemayetpur of Savar where tanneries were relocated from Hazaribagh, said that he had in his stock finished leather worth Tk five crore and asked why he would buy rawhide until he was done selling them.
Mizanur Rahman, owner of Samota Leather Complex and also treasurer of Bangladesh Tanners Association, said that the tannery owners spent huge amounts on infrastructure since last three years and had no money to buy rawhide at present. He said that without bank loans they could not spend on hides.
Against the backdrop of drastic fall in prices of hides of sacrificial animals, the government on Tuesday announced that it would allow export of rawhide. In reaction, Bangladesh Tanners Association requested the government not to allow export and promised to procure rawhides at prices set by the ministry.
The government had set the prices of cowhide at Tk 45-50 a square foot in Dhaka and Tk 35-40 a square foot for outside Dhaka while the prices of castrated-goat skin had been set at Tk 18-20 a square foot and that of goatskin at Tk 13-15 a square foot across the country.
Rawhide merchants at Hemayetpur and Posta said that tannery owners never bought hides following government-announced prices.
A number of traders alleged that the tanners did not even pay the dues they accumulated over the last four years.
Tannery owners, in response, said that if they could get bank loans or could sell finished leather, they could clear the dues.
The procurement of rawhides of the sacrificial animals witnessed an unprecedented price disorder this year and people who collected the animal hides dumped a sizeable number of rawhides faced with the crisis as business syndicate denied paying them the minimum price.
Seasonal and small-scale traders threw away more than one lakh pieces of cowhides on the roads of Chattogram city as wholesale traders refused to buy the items even at Tk 50-10 per piece.
Authorities of a madrassah at Syedpur village in Jagannathpur upazila under Sunamganj district buried 900 hides (800 cowhides and 100 goatskins) of sacrificial animals as there were no buyers.
Small traders at Cumilla dumped more than 200 pieces hides into the River Gomoti after failing to get minimum prices.
Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leathergoods and Footwear Exporters’ Association vice-chairman Abdul Awal said that the incidents were very sad but they couldn’t find any reason behind the incidents.
He said that production capacity of tanneries had increased manifold after tanneries were relocated at Hemayetpur.
‘Price may be low for various reasons but the situation was not such that the items needed to be dumped,’ he said.
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