A week before Eid, meat sale goes down, leaving butchers almost unemployed
With six more days to go prior to the upcoming Eid-ul-Adha, the Gabtali Gobadi Poshur Hut, the largest cattle market in Dhaka, gets almost ready to make room for cattle, traders and buyers.
To dry up the mud on the market premises, supporting hands of the cattle traders were spreading sand, still wet. August 6, afternoon, it was intolerably humid and lacking of buyers. Hence, the as usual scene of a dusty cattle market was absent.
Moshiur Rahman, manager of Jamalpur-based Zakaria Dairy Firm, expressing his hope, said, “The cattle market will get full life from Friday–only two days before the Eid”.
Moshiur have brought 61 cattle—a mix of bulls and cows for sell. Of them, 31 are highly demandable local breeds. He would ask BDT 1,50,000 for each of the local item. As the trader now has stationed at Gabtali, he is also expecting a good sale of the Indian, Pakistani and Australian breeds, all are giant, weighted above 900 kilograms and worth BDT 6,00,000 maximum.
Besides large firms, there are also small-scale cattle farmers like Mohammad Muktar Ali who has brought only two bulls–one is a local breed and another is a Nepali breed. Muktar is expecting a sale of the 450kg local one at BDT 3,00,000 and BDT 2,00,000 for its Nepali cousin who is nearly 320kg.
“Traders bring large cattle in the market keeping four or five days in hand to give the cattle some rest. During summer, they need regular bath and liquid fodder,” Muktar said. He added that spending days in the market costs as the traders have to purchase huge amount of water and fodder as well as have to pay a daily fee to the lessee of the market.”
Occasional market attendants
Abdur Rashid paddles rickshaw in Narayanganj, except for the seven days of the cattle trade during Eid. For the last three years, he is serving as a helping hand for Zakir Dairy.
“I feed the cattle and bathe them. For this job, I get BDT 6,000 and free meals for seven days. The amount is higher than the money I get from paddling rickshaw,” Rashid told The Business Standard.
Shanta, a mother of two children, cooks food at a restaurant in Gabtali. During the cattle trade, she sells water to the cattle traders. She charges BDT 20 for each pitcher of water.
Traders having at least six or eight cattle for sell have to buy water worth more than BDT 1,200 every day. Hence, Shanta and 20 other women like her can earn a handful amount of money prior to the Eid.
At the entrance of the Gabtali cattle market, Md Ramzan–a professional butcher, sells artificial garlands, rope and guide sticks, only for the Eid-time.
Cattle buyers purchase the garlands to decorate the sacrificial animals, the rope and guide stick are for keeping the cattle in discipline.
Ramzan said, “A week before Eid, meat sale goes down, leaving butchers almost unemployed. So I sell ornamental items as my side business.”
Like Ramzan, Bablu Rahman-a butcher from Bogura district, sells goats in the market to earn extra money.
On August 6 morning, Bablu arrived in Dhaka with 27 goats he collected from across his neighbourhoods.
He said, “I will wholesale them at Gabtali and go back to Bogura today. I will come back again before Eid for the next slot of trade.”