Media: The Independent
Even though the department of livestock services and the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association have said there are adequate stocks of sacrificial animals in the country this year and there is no need to import cattle from India or Myanmar, cattle traders are importing cows, buffaloes and goats from Myanmar using sea route through Shahporirdwip corridor of Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar district well ahead of Eid-ul-Azha.
If the cattle are imported from India and Myanmar, local cattle farmers will be affected, the livestock department and Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh cattle traders have been importing several hundreds of cows, buffaloes and goats every day from Myanmar for the upcoming festival to meet the demands for the sacrificial animals during the Eid-ul-Azha.
The cattle traders have said a large portion of demand for the sacrificial animals will be met from Myanmar this year and the local market will be stable.
“Last year about 1,05,00,00 cattle were slaughtered in the country. This year over 1,15,00,000 cattle, including 44,57,000 cows, are being readied for the Eid-ul-Azha,” said Dr Ainul Haque, director-general of the department of livestock services.
“The production of cattle in the country has been rising gradually. Around 5,22,000 farmers, both in rural and urban areas, have reared and fattened the cattle for the Eid-ul-Azha. If cattle imports are encouraged, the people who fattened the cattle for the Eid will be badly affected,” added Dr Haque.
“We’ve written to the home and fisheries and livestock ministries, stating that we have sufficient stocks, and told them to discourage imports,” added Haque.
When contacted, Md Shah Emran, the general secretary of the Bangladesh Dairy Farmers’ Association, told The Independent: “This year we have 10 lakh surplus sacrificial animals. Bangladesh is now self-sufficient. If the cattle are imported, there will be a surplus in the market. Both the importers as well as the local farmers would have to bear the losses.”
“Most of the farmers fattening cattle have taken loans and the losses will hurt them. It will take a toll on the animal husbandry sector,” added Emran.
According to the information from the Teknaf land port revenue department, a total of 1,799 cows and 350 buffaloes has been imported from Myanmar through Shahporirdwip corridor from
August 1 to 11. The revenue department has realised over Tk. 9 lakh as revenues from these imports.
The revenue department statistics show that in July 2017, the cattle traders imported 4,740 cows, 2,029 buffaloes and goats and Tk. 33.84 lakh was realised as revenues from the imports.
Through Teknaf, the cattle traders imported from Myanmar 66,936 cows, buffaloes and goats in the fiscal year 2016–17. The revenue department realised Tk. 3.57 crore as revenues from the imports. Abdullah Monir, a cattle trader from Teknaf, told The Independent: “I’ve imported 1,500 cows till date. I’ll import 10,000 animals more if I don’t face any problem at the border.”
About 50 cattle traders of Teknaf are importing cows, buffaloes and goats from Myanmar for the upcoming festival.
The traders from different parts of the country, including Dhaka, Chittagong, and Feni, are taking cattle from Teknaf to their respective areas. They have said there is a possibility of importing 50,000 cattle from Myanmar well ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha and there would not be any dearth of sacrificial animals. Prices would remain stable this year, they said.
Md Abul Hashem, a cattle trader from Teknaf, said: “Local cattle traders have increased imports from Myanmar after hearing that no cattle will be imported from India.”
Md Main Uddin Khan, officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station, said: “The cattle traders from different parts of the country have started coming to Teknaf and we’ve taken measures to ensure they are not harassed on the way.”