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16 July, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Supply of sacrificial animals adequate

Number of cattle goes down by 1.5 lakh from last year
ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN, Dhaka
Supply of sacrificial animals adequate

A recent spurt in the prices of cattle feed and other essentials has forced farmers to refrain from fattening their cows. They fear that if Indian cattle enter Bangladesh after crossing the border illegally, the cattle farmers here would have to face huge losses. According to sources in the Department of Livestock Services (DLS), a total of 11,788,563 heads of cattle (cows) against a demand of 1.12 crore are being prepared for this year’s Eid-ul-Azha under the cow-fattening programme in 577,416 commercial farms across the country.

According to the DLS data, commercial farms have reared sacrificial animals that are 146,271 fewer in number than those in the previous year. A shortfall of cattle is likely to push up the prices of sacrificial animals for Eid-ul-Azha, which is to be celebrated in the second week of August.

The DLS authorities will request the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) to seal the border so that no animal can enter Bangladesh from neighbouring countries on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.

Against this backdrop, an inter-ministerial meeting will be held at the secretariat today (Tuesday) in this respect. Sources said at least

80,583 fewer cows, 7,944 fewer buffaloes, 32,384 fewer sheep and 25,360 fewer other animals have been reared this year compared to the previous year across the country.

Dr ABM Khaleduzzaman, assistant director (farms) of DLS, said: “A total of 11,788,563 sacrificial animals are being prepared for this year’s Eid-ul-Azha. Of them, 2,733,665 are cattle, 88,448 buffaloes, 1,753,672 goats, 256,038 sheep and 6,563 other animals like camels and dumba (fat-tailed sheep) are ready for sacrificial purposes under the fattening programme for Eid-ul-Azha in commercial farms.” He also said that other than these, 1,696,858 aged and non-productive cows and buffaloes, along with 5,190,290 goats and sheep, are also being readied for Eid.

“Last year, 10,569,070 animals were slaughtered on Eid-ul-Azha. There will be a surplus rather than a shortfall in supply. Apart from commercial farms, many household farmers also raise cattle, goats and sheep, keeping Eid-ul-Azha in mind, and the number would be twice than that supplied by the cattle farmers,” he added.

A total of 2,814,248 heads of cattle, 96,392 buffaloes, 15,37,997 goats, 288,422 sheep and 31,923 other animals like camels and dumba were prepared for sacrificial purposes under the fattening programme for Eid-ul-Azha in commercial farms last year, he added.

Besides, 1,546,360 aged and non-productive cows and buffaloes, along with 5,273,581 goats and sheep, were readied last year, too.

“It is true that the prices of animal feed are very high. Initiatives will be taken so that farmers get fair prices for their animals,” Dr ABM Khaleduzzaman said in reply to a query.

“We want to ensure the interests of local farmers so that they can make profits by selling their animals. We are now ready to meet the local demand from our own production. Bangladesh is already self-sufficient in meat production,” he noted.

“The livestock and fisheries ministry and other agencies have taken action against the use of cattle-fattening steroids and feed, which are harmful to human health,” he stated.

“Our field-level DLS officials, local administration, police and the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority are continuously monitoring the cow-fattening programme. They advised the farmers not to use any steroid or hormone for fattening cows. Mobile courts are also being conducted on a regular basis across the country to ensure steroid- and hormone-free healthy cows,” he added.

He also hoped that the authorities will impose restrictions in border areas on animals entering from neighbouring countries to ensure the interests of local farmers.

“An inter-ministerial meeting will be held today (Tuesday) at the livestock and fisheries ministry. We will urge the BGB to seal the border on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha so that the smugglers won’t be able to sneak in animals from outside the country,” the DLS official said.

Farmers explain their lack of enthusiasm for raising sacrificial animals under the fattening programme because of cattle coming from neighbouring countries like Myanmar, India and Bhutan before Eid-ul-Azha celebrations.

They also claim that they have to bear huge losses every year because of a plentiful supply of cattle from neighbouring countries despite high demand for the local breed in the sacrificial markets.

Mohammad Imran Hossain, chairman of Sadeeq Agro, said, “The farmers rear animals every year to earn some extra money during Eid-ul-Azha. But many of them have to count loss as they don’t get proper prices in relation to their production costs.”

He also urged the government to ensure proper prices after sealing the border areas during Eid-ul-Azha period so that local farmers can sell their animals.

According to DLS sources, a total of 10,569,070 animals were slaughtered last year on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.

However, the tannery industry insiders said 1.55 crore were slaughtered in 2017–18, while the figures were 1.60 crore in 2015-16, 1.55 crore in 2014–15 and 1.36 crore in 2013–14.

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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