There is hardly any space in Dhaka to keep sacrificial animals for a few days. It is just as difficult to arrange feeds and a caretaker to look after the animals.
Mohammad Ali, a retired service-holder living in Mirpur, Dhaka, is unable to visit the cattle market due to his old-age complications and had to resort to buying a cow online for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha.
"After getting to know about e-commerce, I bought a cow and have been relieved of the tension of rearing the cattle as the service provider will send it to my house before Eid day," said Ali.
Some young tech-savvy entrepreneurs have made Eid easy for city dwellers like Ali.
Now one can buy an animal sitting at home, without having to physically go to the cattle market. And the animal will be delivered to one's home from the farm.
At present, a number of e-commerce sites and meat processing companies are selling sacrificial cattle online and offering home delivery, in Dhaka. The cows are reared through animal husbandry and no fattening drug is used on them.
An expatriate Bangladeshi can now buy a sacrificial animal online for his family back home. For such purchases, he will have to pay through a recognised payment method and provide his home address.
"In today's busy life, people want things delivered to their doorstep. Considering these aspects, a few years back, we started an online service to sell sacrificial animals. Within a short period, the service has gained popularity," Ataur Rahman, CEO of www.amardeshamargram.com, said.
He continued: "We have networks in different districts from where we collect products, as well as cattle for Eid-ul-Azha. This year we have collected animals from Narsingdi and Kishoreganj."
He said the supply of cow is lower than that of last year owing to the floods in the northern districts.
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Preview of an online cattle market Collected
Ataur said they try to create a direct link with farmers in different districts online, which helps them get better prices for cattle.
Some of the online shops offer unique facilities such as slaughter service and distribution to addresses mentioned by the customers.
Bengal Meat Processing Industries CEO AFM Asif said that although Bengal Meat usually provides processed meat, it has now introduced online cattle shopping, considering its popularity in the city.
This year Bengal Meat has put up 300 cows on its website and already over 100 of them have been sold. Last year, Bengal Meat had sold 150 cows.
Asif said their cattle are reared under the supervision of registered veterinarians.
"The cattle are given natural feeds and health checks on regular basis to ensure supply of disease-free healthy cattle for Eid-ul-Azha," he said.
"For consumers, it is tough to visit farms. But by visiting our website one can choose and buy his/her cow for Qurbani," he said.
Bengal Meat also offers slaughter and meat processing services. The site www.upohar2me.com is another online portal which offers cows for sale and delivery.
"The rise in sales and involvement of new entrepreneurs in the online cattle marketplace is a positive sign for the emerging e-commerce sector," said Rajib Ahmed, president of E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (ECAB).
"To bring more business through the e-commerce platform, the government must provide policy support," he said, pointing out it would also help in the progress of Digital Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, some online shops are providing farmers with a chance to display their cows from where a consumer can choose and directly contact the farmers.
"We have displayed cows on bikroy.com and other online marketplaces. We are getting response from the buyers. It is a good place to sell," Mohammad Jalilur Rahman, a farmer in Ashulia, told the Dhaka Tribune.
Salek Shahriyar, head of Marketing and Communication office of Crown Cement, said, as a service holder, it is difficult to manage time to go to the cattle market.
On other hand, involving an outsider in the buying process of animal is also troublesome, he said.
"But after being informed about the online marketplace, I decided to buy a cow for Eid-ul-Azha from online shops."