People across the country were forced to sell very cheaply rawhides of the animals they sacrificed during Eid-ul-Azha as the government set lower prices for rawhides this year.
Seasonal traders claimed that they incurred losses despite collecting rawhides at low prices as wholesalers did not maintain the prices set by the government.
Traders said that the prices of rawhides of sacrificial animals almost halved during Eid-ul-Azha this year compared with that of the same period of last year.
Eid-ul-Azha, one of the biggest religious festivals of Muslims, was celebrated across the country on August 22.
Seasonal traders alleged that most of the wholesalers were reluctant to buy the rawhides of sacrificial animals from the Eid day with an intention of collecting the item at the lowest prices possible at the last moment.
‘I bought more than 200 pieces of cowhide at Tk 600 per piece on average, but the wholesalers offered me Tk 400 per piece. There were a very few number of wholesalers to buy the items in Science Laboratory area in Dhaka and I was forced to sell the rawhides at Tk 400 per piece, otherwise the hides would have been rotten,’ Md Azim, a seasonal trader in the city, told New Age on Friday.
Abu Abdullah, who collected rawhides for a madrassah located at Mohammadpur in the capital, said that they were forced to sell hides and skins of animals at very low prices this year as wholesalers were not offering fair prices anymore.
‘We collected more than 1,000 pieces of rawhide in three days up to Friday and the highest selling price of cowhides was Tk 900 a piece while the lowest price was Tk 300 a piece,’ he said.
Abdullah said that they had sold goat skins at the rate of Tk 20-30 a piece.
This year the government has set the prices of rawhides of sacrificial animals at a six-year low showing excuses of a fall in the prices of hides on the international market and the relocation of tanneries to Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, from Hajaribagh in the capital.
The government announced the prices of salted cowhide at Tk 45-50 per square feet in Dhaka and Tk 35-40 outside Dhaka.
The prices of goat skins were set at Tk 13-20 a square feet.
‘Our business is in very bad shape this year due to lack of cash inflow. The prices of rawhides decreased at the wholesale market as a good number of tannery owners failed to paid dues to the merchants due to relocation of their tanneries,’ said Md Delwar Hossain, president of the Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchants Association.
He said that the best quality of cowhides was traded at Tk 1,500 a piece at the rawhide depots at Posta in the capital and the prices of the same quality of hides were at Tk 2,200 a piece last year.
Delwar said that the lowest price of cowhides was Tk 700-800 a piece this year, which was Tk 1,200 a piece last year.
Rejecting the seasonal traders’ allegation, he said that every year they (seasonal traders) claimed that they incurred huge losses but the reality was reverse.
They collect rawhides at very low prices door-to-door and this year they even collected cowhides at Tk 200 a piece from the rural areas, Delwar said.
Aftab Uddin, former president of the Bangladesh Hide and Skin Merchant Association, said considering the fall in hide prices on the international market, the government lowered the prices of the rawhides this year but some of the seasonal traders collected the item at high rate.
If the seasonal traders collected skins with higher rate without understanding the government-set rate they might have to face loss, he said.
Delwar said that the traders of Posta in the city collected about four lakh pieces of rawhides and the hides would be sold to the tanneries from next week.
‘We targeted buying about 10 lakh pieces of hides and skins from the Dhaka city and adjacent districts but we failed to do so due to a cash crisis,’ he said.
Delwar also said that many tannery owners purchased rawhides directly from the market through their representatives and the volume would not be less than 3.5 lakh pieces.
Our correspondent from Barisal reported that seasonal traders became losers in rawhide business due to their capital shortage and huge outstanding arrears with tannery owners in Dhaka and low prices offered by them.
The supply of rawhides in the Barisal region was satisfactory, but the prices were 20-25 per cent lower than last year.
Ali Ahmmad, a seasonal rawhide trader, alleged that he was forced to sell rawhides of big-, medium- and small- sized cows at Tk 450-500, Tk 350-400 and Tk 200-250 a piece respectively.
Shahidur Rahman Shahin, secretary of the Barisal Hide and Skin Merchants Association, said they targeted to collect more than 35,000 pieces of cowhide and 5,000 pieces of goat-skin from the region.
Earlier, Bangladesh Tanners Association chairman Md Shaheen Ahmed said that their business was going through a very bad time as the Tannery Village at Savar was yet to be fully operational and European buyers were not placing orders due to lack of environmental compliance.
On the other hand, amid trade war between the US and China the demand for Bangladeshi leather goods plunged in China, he said.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau data, country’s export earnings from leather and leather products in the financial year 2017-18 fell by 12.03 per cent to $1.08 billion from $1.23 billion in FY 2016-17.