Abrupt downturn of Eid-Day BD rawhide market shocks people

For the first time in many years, the Eid Day rawhide and skin market in Dhaka fluctuated so sharply on Monday that enthusiastic small purchasers had to stop the collection of hides late in the afternoon as the tanners offered them nearly half the price they were given in the morning. Such a behaviour of the market was unforeseen and forced small rawhide collectors having no space or manpower to process those for preservation to incur losses at the end of the day. A resident of the Mirpur 11 Section of the metropolis said a small buyer offered him Taka 700 for the rawhide of a cow in the morning. Early in the afternoon, another buyer did the bargain for the same price but within minutes declined to take the hide on the plea that price at the wholesale market had come down to Taka 400 a piece and that his master asked him to stop procuring hides.
By the afternoon all rickshaw vans that were used to collect rawhide left the area, and only madrasah teachers and students were seen collecting rawhide as gifts to their institutions.
A resident of Uttara Sector 4 of the capital city told this newsman that his mother was surprised at the price of the rawhide which should have been Taka 2000 to 3000 a piece but was instead was sold only at Taka 400 a piece. He said his mother was disappointed that the share of the poor on the sacrifice ritual went down to such a low level.
He said those who sacrifice animals during the Eid-ul-Adha distribute the rawhide sale proceeds to the poor, orphanages or madrasahs (religious schools). The low price of rawhide means their expected share came down unexpectedly.
As in previous years, the government had fixed the price of rawhide before the Eid and decided to keep it at last year’s levels. About a week ago, the government announced the prices of different types of rawhides of sacrificial animals during Eid-ul-Azha. Tanners were to buy per square feet salted cowhide and buffalo rawhide at Tk 45-50 in Dhaka and at Tk 35-40 for outside capital, as per the decision.
Making calculations on this basis small trader offered Taka 700-800 apiece of cattle hide in the morning. But when tanners abruptly started offering Taka 400 a piece of rawhide or even less, they stopped collecting hide from different lanes and by-lanes of the metropolis. In the absence of buyers owners of the rawhides sent those to madrasahs as gifts. Small madrasahs were unwilling to take those as they did not have the manpower and space to preserve those by applying salt.
In the past hides, prices went up or down before the start of their actual collection on the day of Eid-ul-Adha when about 60 percent of the total raw hides and skins are collected in Bangladesh. There is hardly any instance of hides prices suddenly going down in the middle of the day. Late on Monday afternoon, the government announced its decision to export rawhide ‘to ensure fair prices’ and the Commerce Ministry sought the cooperation of the traders to ensure the purchase and sale of the rawhides at fair prices, fixed by the ministry.
According to a report the BNP has blamed an ‘influential syndicate’ run by a ruling Awami League leader for the fall in prices of rawhide and skin of animals on the day of Eid-ul-Azha. Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Senior Joint Secretary-General of the party, alleged that a ‘syndicate’ is smuggling rawhide to India. He alleged that the ringleader of the syndicate was an Awami League leader. The said leader allowed the traders to create the crisis and the government has not attempted to thwart them, he alleged.
The matter merits full-fledged scrutiny to fix the responsibility for abrupt fluctuation of the rawhide and skin market on a very crucial market day of the tannery industry of Bangladesh, and act accordingly. The appropriate authorities should also consider extending support to the small traders who purchased rawhide and skin in the morning on the basis of the price fixed by the government.
– Mostafa Kamal Majumder